JUNE Mar Fajardo is expected to cast a giant shadow over next week’s staging of the SMC-PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) Awards Night at the Maynila Hall of the Manila Hotel.
The San Miguel big man will be bestowed the Mighty Sports Mr. Basketball award during the Feb. 27 rites presented by MILO and Cignal TV for another dominant PBA season last year which saw the 6-foot-10 Cebuano pride romp off with an unprecedented fourth straight MVP trophy.
Fajardo became the first-ever player to win the league’s highest individual award four consecutive seasons - and only the third in history to emerge a four-time MVP after legends Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio.
This will also be the fourth straight time the oldest media organization in the country is honoring the 28-year-old center for excellence in basketball.
Last year, Fajardo further established his claim as the biggest name in Philippine basketball today after steering the Beermen to a record-tying three straight Philippine Cup championships that allowed the fable franchise to become only the second team in PBA annals to bring home the June Bernardino Perpetual trophy after TnT Katropa.
The former No. 1 pick out of University of Cebu also proved his worth by leading Gilas Pilipinas to a sweep of the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship, and then suited up for the national team in its FIBA Asia Cup campaign despite suffering a strained calf muscle prior to the ballclub’s departure for Beirut, Lebanon.
Previous players hailed as Mr. Basketball include Calvin Abueva and Terrence Romeo.
Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol, a former sportswriter, columnist, and boxing analyst, will be the special guest of honor of this year’s event.
Volleyball players Dawn Macandili and Marck Espejo as well as well as golfer Clyde Mondilla are also recipients of special awards during the affair that has the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) as major sponsor and backers in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Mighty Sports, Globalport, Rain or Shine, and Smart.
Macandili, adjudged second Best Libero during the 2017 Asian Women’s Volleyball Championships here, will be handed the Ms. Volleyball title, while Espejo is Mr. Volleyball on account of him winning a fourth UAAP MVP trophy after steering Ateneo to a third straight championship.
For topping the Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit (OOM), Mondilla is Mr. Golf of the year.
The four special awardees are part of the total 105 personalities and entities which make up the season’s honor roll list, topped by PSA-Tapa King Athlete of the Year Jerwin Ancajas, Carlo Biado, and Krizziah Lyn Tabora.