by Waylon Galvez
For sophomore center June Mar Fajardo of Petron Blaze, winning the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) award of the 2014 PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup is something he did not expect to achieve in the early stage of his career.
With exciting Fil-foreign players crowding the league – not to mention homegrown talents with impressive college resume – the 6-foot-10 Cebu native believes then that one has to play extra-ordinarily to earn raves and win a special award like the BPC.
He did struggle in his rookie year so he did the next best thing – train and practice religiously.
After his stint in the Gilas Pilipinas and his desire to become a marquee player which almost everybody envisioned him to be when he joined the league, his game improved tremendously none more apparent in the ongoing season.
That’s why he was hugely rewarded when he beat out reigning MVP and teammate Arwind Santos and Ginebra’s fancied “Twin Towers” of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar.
He earned a runaway 1,268 points from the combined Statistical Points (SP) and votes from the media, players and the PBA Commissioner’s Office.
This all-Filipino conference, Fajardo averaged 16.4 points (7th), 14.9 rebounds (1st), 2.6 shot blocks (2nd) and 1.5 assists.
But when he received the award during Game 4 of the title series between San Mig Super Coffee and Rain or Shine, Fajardo was not totally delighted after seeing the players of both teams before the award rites.
“Ang mga award naman bonus ‘yan, mas maganda kung manalo ng championship, mas masarap na pakiramdam ‘yun,” said the 24-year-old Fajardo.
Fancied to reach the finals owing to their star-studded team, Petron Blaze was unceremoniously booted out by Rain or Shine in their best-of-semis semis series, 4-1.
But Fajardo can console himself with the fact that he emerged as the best player in an All-Filipino tournament – the biggest jewel in the pro league’s three tournaments.
Is season MVP his next target?
Nope. Winning a team championship remains as his top priority. And that begins on March 5 when the Commissioner’s Cup fires off.