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June Mar Fajardo, Scottie Thompson battling it out for PBA MVP

June Mar Fajardo is currently ahead of the MVP race two conferences in. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JUAN, MM—The last two PBA Most Valuable Players are the heavy favorites for this season's top individual prize.

San Miguel's June Mar Fajardo and Ginebra's Scottie Thompson are one and two in the MVP race based on the statistical points they amassed already two-thirds into the 2022-23 season.

Fajardo is currently on track of reclaiming the MVP award he had to relinquish to Thompson after being injury prone for most of the 2021-22 season with 28.9 average SPs.

The 6-foot-10 beanpole is number one in SPs in the Philippine Cup, where the Beermen won it all, with 42.6 and the Commissioner's Cup with 39.7.

On the other hand, while Thompson, the reigning MVP, is third in SPs in each of the first two conferences, his consistency all season long put him in second with 24.9.

A potential spoiler to the coronation of either Fajardo or Thompson is CJ Perez.

Perez is slightly behind Thompson with 24.6 SPs as the Beerman placed second in the Philippine Cup and third in the Commissioner's Cup.

NorthPort's Robert Bolick, who was number one in the SP race in the mid-season conference, is fourth overall this season with 23.2, while Jamie Malonzo, who had a spectacular Commissioner's Cup stint too even if he had to share the limelight with Justin Brownlee at the wings for Ginebra, rounds out the Top 5 with 21.9.

On the other hand, Blackwater's Ato Ular remains the top contender for the Rookie of the Year award even as he too cracked into the Top 20 among all players this season, which also puts him in a position to possibly win a Mythical Selection.

Ular is 20th overall with 17.8 SPs, slightly behind Converge's Maverick Ahanmisi (17.9), but the six-foot-four forward is ahead of Ahanmisi's teammate Justine Arana (16.2) for the top freshman award.

Phoenix's Tyler Tio is third among rookies with 14.2, while Rain Or Shine's Gian Mamuyac (13.2) and Phoenix's Encho Serrano (11.8) round out the Top 5.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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