June Mar Fajardo still leads Best Player of the Conference race despite deferring more to SMB teammates
June Mar Fajardo remains a dominant force despite admitting he defers more to his San Miguel teammates in the PBA Philippine Cup. Jaime Campos

DESPITE trying to defer to his San Miguel Beer teammates in the current PBA Philippine Cup, there’s still no stopping man-mountain June Mar Fajardo from leading the way in the early race for the Best Player of the Conference award.

Fajardo, who became the first player in league history to win three straight Most Valuable Player trophy last year, accumulated an average SPs of 44.2 to lead scoring machine Terrence Romeo of Globalport for the tournament’s top individual honor going into the new year break.

As per latest statistical figures released, Fajardo averages 20.2 points, a league-best 17.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.5 blocks as the defending champion holds the top spot with a 5-1 record halfway through the eliminations.

The 6-foot-10 Fajardo admitted trying to have more Beermen get involve on offense this season as he concentrates on improving the other aspects of his game.

“Kahit hindi maganda ang scoring ko, maganda naman ang nilalaro ng mga teammates ko,” said the San Miguel star, who finished with only 11 points in the Beermen’s latest win over the Meralco Bolts, 101-86.

“Oo ok lang sa akin (lesser scoring role). Basta ang importante naman sa akin manalo.”

Fajardo has won the BPC award four times, including last year’s edition of the all-Filipino conference.

Romeo is once more running havoc on the offensive end by averaging 27.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, and a surprising 6.3 assists, currently no1. In the league. He follows Fajardo in the BPC race with 37 SPs. .

Fajardo’s San Miguel teammate Alex Cabagnot is among those benefitting on the big man's conscious effort to get the Beermen involved. 

Cabagnot is currently at third with 34.6 SPs (18.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.0 apg, 2.2 spg), while Ginebra big man Japeth Aguilar occupies the fourth spot with 33.2 SPs (20.0 spg, 8.5 rpg, 1.7 bpg).

Mac Belo of Blackwater is the only rookie to make the Top 5. He submitted 33.0 SPs (17.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.9 apg). The former King Tamaraw of Far Eastern University likewise leads the race for the Rookie of the Year honor.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Another Beerman in Arwind Santos makes it at sixth spot with 31.3 SPs. The lanky forward currently tops the league in blocks with 2.3 per game, while averaging 14.2 points and 7.0 rebounds.

Calvin Abueva of Alaska and Jayson Castro of TnT Katropa sit at seventh and eight places, respectively. Abueva (15.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 3.0 apg) has 31.0 SPs, while Castro (19.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 5.5 apg) averaged 30.3 SPs.

Matthew Wright crowds Belo for the Rookie of the Year award by making it at no. 9 with 30.2 SPs and averages of 17.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.

Closing out the Top 10 is Chris Newsome of Meralco. Last year’s top rookie continues to flourish as he has 29.8 SPs built around his averages of 15.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 5.7 assists.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos