SAN Miguel Beer’s center June Mar Fajardo established himself as the PBA’s most dominant player after bagging his first Most Valuable Player award in just two seasons in the pro league.
The 6-10 slotman easily beat out 41-year-old center Asi Taulava as well as Talk ‘N Text stars Ranidel de Ocampo and Jason Castro for the honor during the PBA Annual Leo Awards on Saturday to become the first Cebuano to lift the league's highest individual honor.
The 24-year-old top pick of the 2012 rookie draft totalled 2614 points in statistical points and votes from the players, media, and PBA officials to take home the MVP trophy in runaway fashion, just two days after losing the Governors Cup 'Best Player' award Ranidel de Ocampo.
Fajardo became the first player since Ginebra star Mark Caguioa in 2011 to win the league's highest individual award without reaching the finals during the season.
“Nagpapasalamat ako kay God unang-una, then sa pamilya, ko, dahil maraming dreams ang nabuo dito,” the soft-spoken Fajardo said in his brief thank you speech.
The power-playing Fajardo also thanked his former coach from University of Cebu, Roehl Gomez, who he credited largely for his development from a raw big man from Pinamungahan, Cebu, as well as his former teammates from UC for helping him reach his basketball dreams.
“Hindi ko mai-spell ang success kung wala sila saka kung ang gamot may tatak BFAD, ako may tatak UC na ako,” added Fajardo, who also carted away the Most Improved Player award.
Joining Fajardo in the Mythical First Team are Talk ‘N Text cat-quick guard Jason Castro, San Mig’s third-year guard Mark Barroca, Texters forward Ranidel de Ocampo and Taulava.
On the other hand, the Mythical second team includes Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee, San Mig’s Peter June Simon, Ginebra’s rookie center Greg Slaughter, Mixers forward Marc Pingris and Alaska’s Sonny Thoss.
Meanwhile, Slaughter ran away with this season’s Rookie of the Year trophy, beating out Ian Sangalang of San Mig and Raymond Almazan of Rain or Shine.
The members of the All-Defensive team were San Mig Super Coffee’s Marc Pingris and guard Mark Barroca, Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood and Jireh Ibanes as well as Fajardo.
Barako Bull’s Willie Miller won this season’s Sportsmanship Award, besting Alaska’s Dondon Hontiveros, JVee Casio and Sonny Thoss as well as Fajardo.