June Mar Fajardo on track for 8th PBA MVP award

June Mar Fajardo is a cinch for his eighth PBA MVP award. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—As Gilas Pilipinas returns home from Riga following their FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament quest, June Mar Fajardo is set to hear the good news: he is leading the PBA MVP race.

The San Miguel center is on the right track to capturing his eighth MVP title as he is ahead in the statistical points race.

Based on the stats handed to various sports news websites and publications on Tuesday, Fajardo is way ahead of the pack with 42.1 SPs.

The 6-foot-10 giant led the league in rebounds last season with 13.4 per game alongside 17.8 points, 2.8 assists, 1.7 blocks, and 0.7 steals in 38 nights.

The closest contender, Ginebra's Christian Standhardinger, has 37.8 SPs, while Fajardo's teammate with the Beermen and Gilas CJ Perez is behind Standhardinger with 37.4.

By being named the Best Players of the Conference last season, the SMB duo of Perez and Fajardo secured automatic nominations for the MVP award.

NorthPort's Arvin Tolentino (35.9 SPs) and TNT's Calvin Oftana (35.4), also a member of Gilas' OQT team, round out the Top 5.

NLEX guard Robert Bolick, who led the league in scoring last year, was not listed in the Top 25 among players eligible for the MVP award. 

Meanwhile, Terrafirma's Stephen Holt is way ahead as well in the Rookie of the Year race.

Holt garnered 34.1 SPs, which is also good enough for number six in the MVP race, implying that he has a shot at making either of the two Mythical Teams.

Based on PBA rules, if only one rookie makes at least the mythical selection, he will automatically be named the Rookie of the Year.

The Batang Pier's Cade Flores is at number two with 23.3 SPs, while Rain Or Shine Elasto Painter Adrian Nocum soared to number three from out of nowhere with 21.8.

Votes from the media and players are still to be tabulated.

The MVP and Rookie of the Year awards will be given out during the Leo Awards at the start of the new season in August.

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