June Mar Fajardo’s reign as the PBA’s king continues, as he collected his sixth straight Most Valuable Player crown in the 44th annual Leo Awards, Sunday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
This accomplishment by the gentle giant from Cebu has further extended his unprecedented record of most season MVP awards won — a feat which will be difficult to beat.
Fajardo was the runaway winner after his instrumental role in San Miguel’s two championship runs last season, including the Philippine Cup, where the Beermen extended their dynasty to five trophies.
Fajardo’s reign now ends, though, since he will likely miss the entire season. The San Miguel big man is treading the road to recovery after suffering a fractured right tibia during practice last February.
The 30-year-old — who claimed his award riding a medical scooter — posted per-game averages of 18.9 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks. He also played in all of SMB’s 61 outings last season.
Fajardo beat TNT KaTropa star Jayson Castro; new scoring champion CJ Perez of Columbian Dyip; and ex-teammate and now NorthPort Batang Pier Christian Standhardinger for the plum.
Perez, the top pick of the 2018 Rookie Draft, has been impressive in just his first season in the pros. For his performances, he has been hailed as last season’s Rookie of the Year.
The Lyceum product normed a league-best 20.8 points, 7.4 boards, 3.4 assists, and 1.9 steals per game.
The four MVP candidates make up the Mythical Team along with Sean Anthony, who played a key role in NorthPort’s second-seed finish in the Commissioner’s Cup, as well as its Governors’ Cup semis trip.
Anthony is also the league’s steals leader with 2.4 a game. He leads the All-Defensive Team with Perez, Fajardo, SMB’s Chris Ross, and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Japeth Aguilar.
Aguilar, the 2019 Governors’ Cup Finals MVP, leads the Mythical Second Team, made up of Gin King Stanley Pringle, Magnolia Hotshot Ian Sangalang, and Texters Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario.
Another Beerman in Mo Tautuaa bagged Most Improved Player honors, thanks to his fine play with NorthPort before it traded him to San Miguel in the middle of the Governors’ Cup.
Rain or Shine lifer Gabe Norwood earned the Samboy Lim Sportsmanship Award, increasing his collection to three.