Fajardo wins 5th PBA MVP award
ONLY in his seventh year in the professional league, June Mar Fajardo already has a record fifth straight Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Most Valuable Player.
Fajardo couldn’t hide his nervousness as he was interviewed by covering sportswriters as he embraced his three trophies — the All-Defensive Team, Mythical First Team and Season MVP award.
“Mahaba pa sana ang sasabihin ko sa speech ko pero hindi ko na nagawa dahil sa kinakabahan talaga ako. Tinalo ako ng kaba dahil akala ko hindi ako mananalo,” said Fajardo, who called on his parents Marites and Bonifacio on stage to give thanks for his league record setting award.
Fajardo tightly won the award against Stanley Pringle of NorthPort Batang Pier to become the first player to win five MVP and the first also to take home the award in five straight seasons.
“Nagpapasalamat po ako ng marami sa mga award na ito pero hindi po ito maikukumpara sa mga nauna po sa akin na mga manlalaro at salamat sa liga dahil sila po ang nagpasimula ng ating liga,” said Fajardo at the 43rd Leo Awards held before the opening ceremony of the Philippine Cup kicking off the PBA Season 44 Sunday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Fajardo earned 1,032 points in stats, 777 from the media, 327 from the players, 300 from the PBA for a total of 2,436 points, good enough to beat Pringle and become the first player to achieve the feat.
“Kinabahan po talaga ako noong sasabihin na ang mananalo sa MVP tsaka ako tuluyang nakahinga ng maluwag sa pagtawag sa aking koponan at panghuli sa pangalan ko,” said Fajardo.
Fajardo and Pringle thus joined Paul Lee of Magnolia, Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra and Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel Beer in the Mythical First Team.
In the Mythical Second Team are Scottie Thompson of Barangay Ginebra, Mark Barroca of Magnolia, Arwind Santos of San Miguel Beer, JP Erram of NLEX and Matthew Wright of Phoenix.
Jason Perkins of Phoenix took home the Rookie of the Year award while the Most Improved Player went to Thompson.
The All-Defensive Team had Fajardo, Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine, Magnolia’s Rafi Reavis and Rome Dela Rosa and San Miguel’s Chris Ross. Norwood also added to his award the Sportsmanship Award for the third consecutive year.
Fajardo thanked his parents for guiding him with values and discipline plus providing him with good education and his younger brother that influenced him to learn basketball.
“Sana hindi pa ito ang last. Marami pa po akong improvement na nais idagdag sa laro ko. Nagpapasalamat po ako sa mga magulang ko dahil sila ang nag-alaga sa akin para lumaki ako na ganito at sa kapatid ko na si Jay dahil siya talaga lagi na gumigising at nagsasama sa akin para maglaro. Siya po talaga ang unang nahilig sa paglalaro sa basketball at madalas na naglalaro para sa barangay namin at dumadayo sa ibang lugar at isinasama lang ako,” said Fajardo. — A.O.
SAN Miguel Beermen center June Mar Fajardo lifts his fifth straight season MVP award during the 43rd Leo Awards Sunday at the Philippine A rena.