SAN Miguel big man June Mar Fajardo does it again.
The Beerman behemoth known as “The Kraken” was the runaway winner of this season’s Most Valuable Player award for the third straight time, beating Talk N Text’s Jayson Castro and Alaska’s Calvin Abueva in the 2016 PBA Leo Awards last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Fajardo, who averaged 38.8 statistical points in the MVP race, edged out closest rivals Castro (33.6 SPs) and Abueva (31.1 SPs).
He is now the third in the PBA all-time list of the most number of MVP awards won, trailing only PBA legends Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio.
Fernandez and Patrimonio both have four MVP awards in their storied career in Asia’s first play-for-pay league.
Fajardo averaged a career-best 19.7 points per game alongside 12.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 blocks this season, which is just his fourth as a pro.
“Wala akong masabi, sobrang blessed talaga ako,” said Fajardo after accepting the award.
But overjoyed as he may, Fajardo still has some sad feelings for not making it to the finals as they were dethroned by sister-team Ginebra in the semifinals.
“Nakakatuwa na nakuha ko ang award na ito, pero nakakalungkot din dahil hindi ko natulungan ang team ko,” said Fajardo.
Because the kickoff conference is an All-Filipino tournament, a player’s performance here represents 40% in the whole season’s total Statistical Points, with the Commissioner’s Cup and the Governors’ Cup representing 30% each.
These SPs aggregate culled from three conference will then form 40% in the actual MVP tabulation, with the remaining 60% to be based on votes, broken down to media (30%), fellow players (25%) and office of the commissioner (5%).
Fajardo, Castro and Abueva also led the Mythical First Team alongside Globalport’s Terrence Romeo and San Miguel’s Arwind Santos.
Fajardo also bagged the Samboy Lim Sportsmanship award, besting contenders Sol Mercado of Ginebra, Aldrech Ramos of Mahindra and Stanley Pringle of Globalport.
Making it to the Mythical Second Team were Fajardo’s teammate Alex Cabagnot, Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio and NLEX’s Asi Taulava and Sean Anthony.
Meralco’s Chris Newsome, meantime, clinched the PBA Rookie of the Year award.
Newsome bested newcomers Troy Rosario and Moala Tautuaa of Talk N Text, Rain or Shine’s Maverick Ahanmisi and Baragay Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson.
The former Ateneo star, drafted No. 4 overall in the 2015 PBA Draft, came along strong in the PBA Governors’ Cup, where he led all of the Bolts’ locals in scoring.
He also helped lead his team to a first-ever PBA Finals appearance.
Meantime, Rain or Shine guard Jericho Cruz was named the PBA’s Most Improved Player.
The awards were handed out prior to Game Four of the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup finals.