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June Mar Fajardo leads PBA MVP race, Comm's Cup BPC CJ Perez at number 3

June Mar Fajardo is on top of the PBA MVP race. Kennelf Monteza (file photo) 
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—June Mar Fajardo is on track to capture his eighth PBA MVP award midway into the 2023-2024 season.

Based on the statistical points at the end of the Commissioner's Cup, Fajardo is number one with 40.9 SPs, way ahead of second placer Christian Standhardinger, who has 35.7.

Fajardo's San Miguel teammate CJ Perez, the Best Player of the Conference in the said tournament, is third with 35.4.

Fajardo was disqualified from the BPC race after failing to reach the 70 percent threshold for the number of games played until the conference semifinals due to a fractured left hand that sidelined him for six matches midway into the Commissioner's Cup eliminations.

However, with the eligibility for the MVP race including games from the finals, Fajardo, who played 15 out of 21 games for the Beermen last conference up to the championship series against the Magnolia Hotshots, is now eligible.

Fajardo injured his calf in Game 4 of the Commissioner's Cup but played through it until SMB clinched the championship in Game 6.

However, the 6-foot-10 center said on Monday that he was advised by his doctor to rest for at least two weeks, forcing him to beg off from joining Gilas Pilipinas for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers this week, although he joined the national team's trip to Hong Kong for their Thursday night road game.

NorthPort's Arvin Tolentino is fourth with 35.1 SPs and TNT's Calvin Oftana is fifth with 34.1.

Ginebra's Scottie Thompson is currently sixth with 31.0 SPs, Meralco's Chris Newsome is seventh with 28.5, Magnolia's Jio Jalalon is eighth with 28.4, and the Ginebra duo of Maverick Ahanmisi (ninth with 27.6) and Jamie Malonzo (10th with 27.58) round out the Top 10.

Meanwhile, Terrafirma's Stephen Holt remains the top contender for the Rookie of the Year with NorthPort's Cade Flores, Phoenix's Ken Tuffin, and Terrafirma's Kemark Carino following him behind.

Fuel Master Ricci Rivero, though, fell to number eight after struggling against the Hotshots in the Commissioner's Cup semifinals, paving the way for Batang Pier Fran Yu, Blackwater Bossing's Christian David, and the Tropang Giga's Henry Galinato to overtake him.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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