JUNE Mar Fajardo went through the motions and climbed the podium on Friday night to cement his status as the country’s best basketball player.
The San Miguel Beer slotman, as expected, was named the PBA’s MVP for the second straight year in the annual Leo Awards at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The 25-year-old Fajardo became just the fourth player to win back-to-back MVPs - and the first since acknowledged mentor Danny Ildefonso achieved the feat in the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
"Sa dinami dami ng players dito sa PBA, ako pa ang nanalo. Kaya sobrang blessed ko talaga," said the top pick overall in the PBA rookie draft in 2012.
“Kailangan hindi lang makunteto tsaka keep improving lang," the 6-foot-10 center out of University of Cebu added.
Fajardo also joined Ildefonso in an elite list of multiple winners in Mon Fernandez, Alvin Patrimonio, Bogs Adornado, Abet Guidaben, Benjie Paras, Danny Ildefonso, Willie Miller, and James Yap.
It was a landslide victory for Fajardo, who emerged on top of the statistical points race and gained the most votes from the media, players, and Commissioner’s Office for a total of 3,227 points.
Fajardo raked in several awards for the night, being named to the Mythical Five, the All-Defensive Team, after claiming the Sportsmanship Award.
SMB teammate Arwind Santos and Paul Lee of Rain or Shine completed the Mythical first team along with Fajardo, Castro, and Slaughter.
The mythical second team was composed of Asi Taulava of NLEX, TNT’s Ranidel de Ocampo, Alaska’s Calvin Abueva, and GlobalPort’s dynamic duo of Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle.
The Batang Pier’s backcourt tandem also claimed other significant individual awards as Pringle claimed top rookie honors, while Romeo was adjudged the league’s Most Improved Player.
Fajardo led the All-Defensive team that also has SMB teammate Chris Ross, Gabe Norwood of ROS, and Alaska pair Abeuva and Ping Exciminiano.