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Fajardo leads BPC

SMB's June Mar Fajardo makes his move under the basket against Blackwater's Jason Ballesteros and Bryan Faundo during PBA second game action at Cuneta Astrodome. Photo by Tony PIonilla

Castro, Lee move into strong contention

San Miguel Beer center June Mar Fajardo topped the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) derby after the elimination round ahead of guards Jayson Castro of Talk ’N Text and Paul Lee of Rain or Shine in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Despite the failure of Philippine Cup champion SMB to make the playoff round, the 6-foot-10 Fajardo managed to lead all players in the Statistical Points (SP) category with 33.9 SPs.

The reigning league MVP Fajardo, who won his second BPC plum in the previous Philippine Cup, averaged 16.5 points, conference-high 12.6 rebounds and 1.9 shot blocks in 11 games during the eliminations.

However, the Beermen failed to advance to the quarterfinal playoffs after the franchise finished tied with Globalpot and expansion team Kia all for ninth to 11th places with 4-7 cards apiece.

With SMB out of the playoffs, Fajardo’s bid for a third BPC is in peril, opening the door for Gilas Pilipinas teammates Castro and Lee to contend for the coveted award.

Castro and Lee are currently second and third in the BPC race 32.2 SPs 32.0 SPs, respectively.

Rain or Shine and Talk ’N Text finished tied with defending champion Purefoods Star with 8-3 records, but because of their superior quotients, the Elasto Painters and the Tropang Texters were ranked 1-2 with twice-to-beat incentives in the quarterfinals.

Castro, who won the BPC in this same Commissioner’s Cup last season and in the Philippine Cup in 2013, averaged 17.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists, while Lee has 16.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

At No. 4 is Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s 7-foot center Greg Slaughter with 31.0 SPs, while occupying fourth place is Globalport sophomore guard Terrence Romeo with 30.4 SPs.

Romeo also emerged as the top scorer with 20.8 points per game during the eliminations.

Completing the Top 10 are TNT’s Ranidel de Ocampo (29.2 SPs), Asi Taulava of NLEX (26.3 SPs), Globalport rookie Stanley Pringle (26.1 SPs), TNT’s freshman Matt Ganuelas-Rosser (25.4 SPs) and Meralco’s Gary David (25.2 SPs).