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PBA: Championship is what counts – SMB’s Fajardo

It doesn’t matter for San Miguel Beer center June Mar Fajardo if he wins a third straight MVP plum or not since his goal is to help the team retain the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup.

For him, individual award is just an icing on the cake.

“Bonus na lang kung magka-award,” said Fajardo yesterday as No. 2 twice-to-beat SMB gears up in preparation for its quarterfinal game against No. 7 NLEX tomorrow at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Sa akin naman kasi ang importante is mag-champion ang team, buong team ang masaya. Pero kung mananalo ng MVP uli, bonus na yun, lalo na wala pa nakakagawa nun,” added the 6-foot-10 center.

The PBA Commissioner’s Office will formally release the official BPC contenders tomorrow, or after the two playoff games to decide the No. 4 berth and No. 8 spot in the quarterfinal round.

At press time, Rain or Shine is playing Phoenix Fuel for the eighth spot, while Mahindra and Meralco are slugging it out for the No. 4 slot and the last twice-to-beat bonus in the next stage.

Fajardo is the league’s reigning back-to-back MVP, and is already in the ‘elite’ company that captured consecutive MVPs that include William “Bogs” Adornado (1975 and 1976), Alvin Patrimonio (1993 and 1994), and former SMB Danny Ildefonso (2000 and 2001).

While the record for most MVPs belong to Patrimonio and Ramon Fernandez as both bagged four each, no player in league history won the top individual award three straight times.

The fourth year center Fajardo, together with Alaska forward Calvin Abueva, are already assured as candidates in the MVP race since the two won Best Player of the Conference plums – the former in the Philippine Cup and the latter in the previous Commissioner’s Cup.

This conference, Fajardo is expected to be in the derby for the BPC award as he averaged 20.55 points, 11.64 points and 1.73 shot blocks during the eliminations of the Governors’ Cup.

Fajardo has already won four BPC, and another plum would tie him with Ildefonso, who holds the record with five.

TNT KaTropa guard Jayson Castro is also a solid contender as he averaged 21.45 points per game with 3.82 rebounds and 7.91 assists as he helped the Texters to a league-best 10-1 record at the end of the elimination round.

Abueva had 14.56 points with 8.78 rebounds.

Meanwhile, the quarterfinals will start tomorrow at the Big Dome with SMB colliding against NLEX while Barangay Ginebra San Miguel will face Alaska. The Kings and the Beermen are armed with twice-to-beat incentives.