Fajardo wins MVP; Slaughter is top rookie
Not one, not two or three but four.
Awards came aplenty for Cebuano big man June Mar Fajardo in yesterday’s Annual Leo Awards but none bigger than the coveted Most Valuable Player (MVP) honor in the 39th season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
The six-foot-10 Fajardo, a native of Pinamungajan town, southwest Cebu, became the first Cebuano player to be named MVP, winning the award in only his second season in the league.
“Gusto ko magpasalamat sa San Miguel na kinuha nila ako. Sana hindi sila nagkamali,” said Fajardo, who is the third player to win the MVP award after losing in the Rookie of the Year (ROY) race in the previous season.
James Yap and Willie Miller are the other MVP winners who didn’t win the ROY award.
Aside from winning the MVP, Fajardo was also named Most Improved Player and got separate trophies for making it to the Mythical Team and All-Defensive Team.
Fajardo, nicknamed The Kraken, finished the season averaging 21.2 points, 15.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a game.
Two Cebuanos actually took the limelight as Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter snagged the ROY award.
The seven-footer Slaughter, the first overall pick in the 2013 PBA Draft, marked his rookie season with averages of 14.6 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.
Slaughter also made it to the Mythical Second Team along with Rain or Shine’s Paul Lee, San Mig Coffee teammates Peter June Simon and Marc Pingris and big man Sonny Thoss of Alaska.
Fajardo, on the other hand, was joined in the Mythical Team by San Mig Coffee’s Mark Barroca, Air 21’s Asi Taulava and Talk ‘N Text teammates Jayson Castro and Ranidel De Ocampo.
Joining Fajardo in the All-Defensive Team were Marc Pingris, Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood and Jireh Ibañes and Barroca.
Miller, the veteran guard of the Barako Bull Energy Colas, went home with the Sportsmanship Award.
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