Feb 20, 2024

Fajardo leads MVP derby

SAN Miguel Beer behemoth June Mar Fajardo holds pole position in the race for the coveted Season 48 Most Valuable Player plum after the recent PBA Commissioner's Cup he and the Beermen won.

The seven-time MVP carded 40.9 average statistical points built around big numbers in points (16.2), rebounds (league-best 12.0) and blocks (season-high 2.3) plus 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals to set the pace at the halfway mark of the 48th season calendar.

Ginebra's Christian Standhardinger and CJ Perez, Fajardo's newly-minted Best Player of the Conference and Finals MVP teammate at SMB, are in hot pursuit of "The Kraken."

Standhardinger, who averaged 16.5 markers, 9.9 boards and 5.0 assists, runs second with 35.7 SPs with Perez, who posted 16.9-point, 6-rebound, 3.6-assist and 2.3-steal averages in his breakout conference, closely behind at 35.4 SPs.

NorthPort's Arvin Tolentino, the league's premier local scorer with 22.4 points who also accounts for 5.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per outing, sits at No. 4 with 35.1 SPs followed by TNT's Calvin Oftana (21.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists per game) at fifth with 34.1.

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Season 46 MVP Scottie Thompson of Ginebra (31 SPs), Meralco's Chris Newsome (28.5), Jio Jalalon of runner-up Magnolia (28.4) and Ginebra duo Maverick Ahanmisi (27.60) and Jamie Malonzo (27.58) occupy sixth to 10th positions.

Just outside the Top 10 are Jason Perkins of semifinalist Phoenix (27.5), Terrafirma's Javi Gomez de Liano (27.1), Magnolia's Mark Barroca (26.8), Terrafirma's Juami Tiongson (26.6) and Meralco's Cliff Hodge (24.8).

Meanwhile, the Dyip's top pick Stephen Holt leads the chase for Rookie of the Year honors with 24 SPs even as he ranks 20th in the MVP contest.

With averages of 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists, Holt zooms in front of NorthPort's Cade Flores (22.4 SPs), Phoenix's Ken Tuffin (20.1), fellow Dyip Kemark Carino (16.1), NorthPort's Fran Yu (15.8) and Blackwater's Christian David (14.3).

Rounding out the Top 10 are TNT's Henry Galinato Jr. (13.7), Phoenix's Ricci Rivero (13.3), TNT's Kim Aurin (13.0) and NorthPort's Brent Paraiso (12.8). (OL)