IT looks like June Mar Fajardo is a cinch for a historic PBA MVP three-peat, but there are more individual honors up for grabs in the yearend Leo Awards.
With 38.8 statistical points at the end of the Governors Cup semifinals, the 6-10 San Miguel slotman enjoys a wide lead over second-running Jayson Castro of TNT Katropa and Alaska forward Calvin Abueva in the statistical race which comprise 40 percent of the MVP tabulation.
That means the Cebuano big man needs only enough votes from the media, fellow players, and PBA officials to become the first player in the league's 41-year history to win the top individual honor in three successive years.
The rest of the awards to be handled out in the event set to take place before Game Four of the Meralco-Ginebra finals on Friday are still tough to call.
Meralco's Chris Newsome leads the Rookie of the Year race with 23.6 statistical points. Second overall pick Troy Rosario of TNT is a close second (23 SP's) followed by Art Dela Cruz of Blackwater (20.7), Maverick Ahanmisi of Rain or Shine (19.8) and top overall pick Moala Tautuaa of TNT (18.7).
Candidates for places in the Mythical first and second teams are Alex Cabagnot, Castro, Jericho Cruz, Marcio Lassiter, Carlo Lastimosa, Newsome, Stanley Pringle, Terrence Romeo and LA Tenorio in the guard posts and Fajardo, Abueva, Japeth Aguilar, Sean Anthony, Clifford Hodge, JR Quinahan, Aldrech Ramos, Rosario, Arwind Santos, Asi Taulava and Willy Wilson in the forward and center spots.
For the Most Improved, Cruz has a slight edge over rivals Anthony of NLEX, Pringle of GlobalPort and RoS teammate Quinahan.
The All-Defensive Team race has Chris Banchero, Cruz, Ping Exciminiano and Chris Ross slugging it out for the guard spots with Abueva, Aguilar, Fajardo, Hodge, Gabe Norwood, Marc Pingris, Santos and Taulava vie for the forward and center posts.
There are four candidates for the Samboy Lim sportsmanship award, namely Fajardo, Sol Mercado, Aldrech Ramos and Pringle.