San Miguel teammates in collision course for PBA MVP plum
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San Miguel teammates in collision course for PBA MVP plum

June Mar Fajardo PBA

June Mar Fajardo’s selection as the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) for the PBA Philippine Cup has officially made the MVP derby for Season 48 a two-pronged race between him and San Miguel Beer teammate CJ Perez.

Fajardo’s record 10th BPC which he claimed before Wednesday’s Game 4 of the all-Filipino title series between the Beermen and the Bolts may either put the 6-foot-10 center closer to an unprecedented eighth MVP plum and make it hard for Perez to nab the prestigious plum for the first time.

Perez was named BPC of the Commissioner’s Cup when San Miguel took down Magnolia in six games last February.

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Teammates battling for the most coveted individual honor are not common cases, but have happened in past seasons.

Among them were San Miguel’s Danny Ildefonso and Danny Seigle in 2000 and 2001, with the former ending up winning the award on both occasions.

Red Bull’s Willie Miller edged out Davonn Harp in 2002 for his first of two MVP plums and Purefoods’ James Yap prevailing over two others, including fellow Chunkee Giant Kerby Raymundo in 2006. In 1997, Alvin Patrimonio and Jerry Codinera, best friends who anchored Purefoods’ title runs, engaged in what was then one of the closest races for the award.

Fajardo became the cinch for the BPC award after early pacesetter Robert Bolick of NLEX saw his team being swept by Meralco in the quarterfinals. Bolick’s bid fizzled out despite outstanding numbers, particularly on the offensive end.

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Terrafirma rookie Stephen Holt, a key fixture in the Dyip’s dream playoff run that nearly saw themselves score an upset over the Beermen in the quarters, was another BPC contender.

Disqualified

Fajardo, the gentle giant and longtime San Miguel cornerstone, compiled 1,100 points based on statistics and votes from media and players, with Holt placing second with 651 followed by Bolick in third with 641.

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Perez was named the BPC of the season’s lone import-laden tournament, partly due to Fajardo being disqualified after failing to garner at least 70 percent of San Miguel’s Commissioner’s Cup games by the end of the semifinals.

Fajardo eventually got into the top of the MVP race after the Beermen defeated the Magnolia Hotshots for the Commissioner’s Cup title, when he finally got enough games to be eligible for any individual honors.

Interestingly, Fajardo didn’t miss any action during the conference despite being bothered by a calf injury in the early goings.Perez, however, has stayed consistent in the Philippine Cup, though he wound up just fourth in the conference’s BPC tally with 503 points.

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TAGS: June Mar Fajardo, PBA Philippine Cup, San Miguel Beer

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