June Mar Fajardo from Cebu wins record seventh PBA MVP award
MANILA, Philippines–San Miguel Beer cornerstone June Mar Fajardo has won the Philippine Basketball Association’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) once again, completing a return to form many thought would no longer happen.
Fajardo beat out Scottie Thompson, the Barangay Ginebra’s indefatigable playmaker who won the plum last season; along with teammates—former and current—in Gin Kings forward Christian Standhardinger, and Beermen guard CJ Perez in a short event that ushered in the PBA’s 48th season at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
The soft-spoken Cebuano racked up a total of 2248 points to win the race and set a new league record anew by winning a seventh time while moving three trophies farther from Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio who both won the honors four times.
And the FIRST Mythical Team are CJ Perez, Scottie Thompson, June Mar Fajardo, Jamie Malonzo and Christian Standhardinger.
That’s three Ginebra players in the All-PBA First Team. Will a Gin King win the MVP Award as well? | @MeloFuertesINQ
— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) November 5, 2023
Meanwhile, Converge big man Justin Arana took the Rookie of the Year award, former FiberXers standout and now Ginebra guard Maverick Ahanmisi the Most Improved Player, while NLEX ace Kevin Alas the Sportsmanship Award.
Fajardo and the three MVP finalists also made the league’s First Mythical Team, along with high-leaping Ginebra forward Jamie Malonzo. Composing the Second Mythical Team are NorthPort standouts Arvin Tolentino and Robert Bolick, TNT stars Mikey Williams and Calvin Oftana, and Magnolia bruiser Calvin Oftana.
San Miguel’s gentle giant also made the All-Defensive Team, joining Standhardinger, Meralco’s Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge and Magnolia’s Jio Jalalon.
Fajardo’s quite a triumph in itself, considering a freak injury he suffered three years ago. The 6-foot-10 big man broke his shin bone in practice, which led to his shutdown throughout the 2020 season.
That broken tibia had Fajardo in sick bay for around 18 months—a long layoff that at one point brought upon immense doubt, according to the San Miguel veteran himself.
Yet, he managed to make the trek back to the PBA’s summit starting off with ruling the 2022 Philippine Cup where he emerged as the Best Player of the Conference and the eventual Finals Most Valuable Player.
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