by Jonas Terrado
BOCAUE, Bulacan – June Mar Fajardo yesterday made history as the first five-time winner of the PBA Most Valuable Player during the Leo Awards which marked the start of the league’s 44th season at the Philippine Arena here.
Fajardo compiled 2436 points courtesy of the statistics and votes from the media, players and the PBA Commissioner’s Office to surpass Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio for the most numbers of MVP trophies.
The San Miguel Beer gentle giant edged out Stanley Pringle despite finishing second to the NorthPort guard in the Statistical Points category at the end of the 2017-18 season.
But voters were convinced with Fajardo’s worthiness of claiming the coveted honor, especially after steering the Beermen to last season’s Philippine Cup crown while also taking the Best Player of the Conference award in the first two conferences.
Fajardo was humble as usual after addressing the crowd inside the cavernous facility.
“Dati pinagtatawanan ka lang tas ngayon five-time MVP na,” Fajardo said. “Hindi mo talaga alam ang buhay ng tao basta magsikap ka lang.”
Pringle placed second with 2041 points as he became NorthPort’s go-to-guy following the departure of Terrence Romeo earlier in the season.
Fajardo and Pringle also made the league’s First Mythical Team alongside Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Japeth Aguilar (538), Magnolia’s Paul Lee (511) and San Miguel’s Marcio Lassiter (463).
Composing the Second Mythical Team are Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson (333), Magnolia’s Mark Barroca (305), San Miguel’s Arwind Santos (353), Phoenix’s Matthew Wright (303) and former Blackwater center and now NLEX center JP Erram (343).
Phoenix’s Jason Perkins pocketed the Rookie of the Year award after emerging as the hands-on favorite with top pick Christian Standhardinger of San Miguel and suspended guard Kiefer Ravena of NLEX becoming ineligible due to various reasons.
Fajardo was also part of the All-Defensive Team together with Magnolia’s Rafi Reavis and Rome dela Rosa, Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood and San Miguel’s Chris Ross.
Norwood, on the other hand, claimed the Samboy Lim Sportsmanship Award over Fajardo.