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Fajardo makes history as he becomes 1st 5-time PBA MVP

Junemar Fajardo captured his fifth MVP award. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

BOCAUE--June Mar Fajardo set an unprecedented feat as he won his fifth Philippine Basketball Association Most Valuable Player award, the main highlight of the annual Leo Awards held during the opening ceremonies of the new PBA season at the Philippine Arena on Sunday.

The San Miguel center edged NorthPort guard Stanley Pringle to become the lone player with the most MVP plums, breaking out of a tie with legends Mon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio.

Fajardo collected 2,436 points, the sum of points coming from the stats, the media covering the beat, the players, and the PBA Commissioner's Office, almost 400 points ahead of Pringle, who got 2,041.

Fajardo averaged 20.6 points, 12.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 blocks a game in 47 outings for the Beermen last season.

Fajardo and Pringle headlined the Mythical First Team along with Magnolia's Paul Lee, Ginebra's Japeth Aguilar, and San Miguel's Marcio Lassiter.

Fajardo also led the All-Defensive Team, which also has Magnolia's Rafi Reavis and Rome Dela Rosa, Rain Or Shine's Gabe Norwood, the eventual Samboy Lim Sportsmanship Award winner, and San Miguel's Chris Ross.

Norwood (2,193 points) beat Fajardo (2,038) for the Sportsmanship Award in a close battle thanks to the full vote of the league and getting the better of the player votes.

On the other hand, Ginebra's Scottie Thompson, who won the Most Improved Player, led the Mythical Second Team, which also consists of Magnolia's Mark Barroca, San Miguel's Arwind Santos, NLEX's Poy Erram, and Phoenix's Matt Wright.

Thompson took home the MIP award in landslide fashion, getting 4,217 points in total, way ahead of second placer Rashawn McCarthy of Columbian, which tallied 346, all on player votes.

Meanwhile, Jason Perkins beat fellow La Salle alumnus Jeron Teng for the Rookie of the Year award.

The Phoenix forward got 2,863 points, over 1,200 points ahead of the Alaska winger (1,639).

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