PBA: June Mar Fajardo faces ‘difficult’ task as potential All-Star captain
MANILA, Philippines—June Mar Fajardo admitted being unaware of the new format for the PBA All-Star Game that may give him the chance to pick the players he wants as teammates.
But trying to form a roster in the event he ends up being one of the two captains for the festivities set March 9 to 12 in Passi City, Iloilo is something he considers a challenge.
“It’s going to be difficult,” Fajardo said in Filipino after the Beermen’s 105-86 win over the Blackwater Bossing in the Governors’ Cup on Wednesday, the same day the league released the initial tally of the top 24 players voted by fans.
Early returns saw Fajardo on top with 37,915 followed by Barangay Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson with 37,759. A close third is Thompson’s teammate Japeth Aguilar with 37,322.
The top two vote-getters will be chosen as captains for the All-Star Game, adopting the same format being used by the NBA since 2018. They will choose from the 22 other players who made it to the list.
Also in the top 24 are Ginebra’s Jamie Malonzo (32,998), Magnolia’s Calvin Abueva (32,503), San Miguel’s CJ Perez (31,184), Ginebra’s Christian Standhardinger (29,821), Rain or Shine’s James Yap (28,117), Ginebra’s LA Tenorio (28,027) and Stanley Pringle (27,441).
Next are San Miguel’s Terrence Romeo (24,821), TNT’s Jayson Castro (24,408), Magnolia’s Paul Lee (24,126), NorthPort’s Robert Bolick (23,468), TNT’s RR Pogoy (20,042), Meralco’s Chris Newsome (19,637), Ginebra’s Jeremiah Gray (18,875) and TNT’s Mikey Williams (18,826).
Rounding it out are San Miguel’s Marcio Lassiter (18,556), NorthPort’s Arvin Tolentino (18,444), Magnolia’s Mark Barroca (17,139), Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood (15,448), TNT’s Calvin Oftana (15,427) and NLEX’s Kevin Alas (15,205).
Should he remain inside the top two until the voting period ends on February 15, the San Miguel star will face a dilemma of sorts.
“I would like to pick my teammates [who would be part of the All-Star Game],” he said. “But at the same time, other players might complain.”
The annual showcase will make a comeback after it was not held in the past two seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Calasiao, Pangasinan hosted the last All-Star back in March 2019.