Petron slotman Fajardo unanimous pick for BPC Award
MANILA, Philippines — June Mar Fajardo, the new Petron Blaze cornerstone seen by many as the best big man in the Philippine Basketball Association, won his first Player of the Conference award by handily besting teammate Arwind Santos in simple rites Friday night honoring the best performers of the Philippine Cup.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo, who topped the statistical points (SP) race, also over the reigning MVP Santos, garnered a total of 1,268 points as he won over everyone else in the media, player and league votes as well.
Fajardo, a 24-year-old who first gained prominence in Cebu where he won three MVP awards in the local Cesafi league, got 39 out of 43 first-place votes from the covering media and 22 out of a possible 26 player votes.
Petron Blaze, incidentally, will go by the name of San Miguel Beer when the Commissioner’s Cup opens next month.
Santos settles for second
Santos tallied 727 points, while Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra, whose game became inconsistent in the playoffs, tied for third with teammate Greg Slaughter with 531.
Jay Washington of Globalport brought up the rear with 398 points.
“A little,” Fajardo told reporters in Filipino when asked if the pain of not making the Finals was eased a bit by the award he won. “But it would have been the best feeling if we were able to make the championship series.”
Fajardo led the league in rebounds with an average of 14.8 boards a night, narrowly nipping the ageless Asi Taulava of Air21, who finished his first full conference back in the league with an average of 14.3.
Philippine Cup finalists San Mig Coffee and Rain or Shine didn’t have players who made it to the list of candidates in the BPC race as only the top five finishers in the SP race were eligible to be picked for the award.
Jason Castro of deposed champion Talk ‘N Text won the conference’s scoring title with an average of 19.29 points a contest, with Washington, who played just 12 games because of a foot injury, finishing with an average of 19.17.
LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra was the top assists man of the tournament after finishing with 6.47 a game with Mike Cortez of Air21 winding up a close second at 6.4 per contest. Tenorio was last season’s best passer.
Commissioner’s Cup March 5
Meanwhile, the import-spiced Commissioner’s Cup gets off the ground on March 5 with Air21 battling Globalport and the Alaska Aces slugging it out with the Tropang Texters at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Petron plays as San Miguel Beer on March 7 when the Beermen clash with the Meralco Bolts, before Barangay Ginebra locks horns with Barako Bull at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rain or Shine and San Mig Coffee see action on March 9 and 12, with the Elasto Painters and the Mixers drawing the Energy and the Batang Pier as their first foes, respectively, both also at the Big Dome in Cubao.
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