JUNE Mar Fajardo of Petron continued to hold sway in the statistical race for the PBA Best Player of the Conference derby, holding off a charging Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra by a slim margin despite sitting out three games in the Philippine Cup owing to a knee injury.
The 6-foot-10 sophomore out of the University of Cebu remained in first place with a 40.4 statistical points average at the end of the elimination round, just ahead of Aguilar's 38.8 SPs in a race that will make up 40 percent of the tabulation for the individual honor.
The other 60 percent comes from votes from media (30 percent), players (25%) and league officials (5%).
The Petron big man played less games and consequently had less statistical points than Aguilar, but won out in the averaging after putting together norms of 15.1 points, 15.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 2.5 blocks in 11 games with the Blaze Boosters.
Aguilar averages 18.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 3.5 shotblocks for Ginebra and had more won-game bonuses than Fajardo, but his numbers obviously suffered after his six-point, five-rebound effort in the Kings' final game of the elims - a 79-103 loss to Talk 'N Text on Sunday.
Petron's Arwind Santos, the reigning league MVP, and Ginebra freshman Greg Slaughter are tied for third with their 35.6 SPs - their top four placers coming as no surprise considering the Boosters and the Gin Kings dominated the elimination round.
GlobalPort's Jay Washington broke the SMC monopoly by placing fifth with 34.1 SPs, although his bid has been hurt by a plantar fascia injury that kept him out of the Batang Pier's last two games.
Rounding out the Top 10 are Talk 'N Text's Jayson Castro, Alaska slotman Sonny Thoss, San Mig guard Mark Barroca, Air21's evergreen slotman Asi Taulava, and Texter Ranidel de Ocampo.
Curiously, Ginebra guard LA Tenorio lost his place in the Top 10 despite the Kings topping the elims with an 11-3 record.
On the other hand, Slaughter is the runaway leader in the race among his rookies, his 35.6 SPs putting him way ahead of GlobalPort guard Terrence Romeo (22.1) and San Mig's Ian Sangalang (21).
Below is the complete list: