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Fajardo, Castro in the running for Finals MVP

San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fajardo and two players from TNT KaTropa are strong contenders to win the PBA Finals Most Valuable Player award, provided their teams end up as Commissioner’s Cup champions.

Fajardo is making a strong case in the ongoing Finals, averaging 21.0 points on .583 shooting with 8.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists through four games. His numbers came despite a 4-of-15 clip for 12 points in SMB’s 127-125 double overtime win in Game 2.

San Miguel's June Mar Fajardo collars the rebound against TNT's RR Pogoy (left) and Jayson Castro (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

JUNE MAR Fajardo (center) and Jayson Castro (right) loom as strong Finals MVP candidates.

The 6-foot-10 center already has three Finals MVPs, one shy of tying Danny Seigle and James Yap for the most numbers of awards won.

Fajardo earned the nod last conference when the Beermen claimed their fifth straight Philippine Cup.

Jayson Castro, the Best Player of the Conference, and Troy Rosario could have their names called if TNT finally ends a four-year title drought.

Castro posted 19.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.0 steals for TNT entering Game 5 while Rosario is the KaTropa’s top scorer of the Finals at 21.0 per contest.

Rosario has a .516 shooting percentage thanks to 14 made threes in the series. He hit eight during TNT’s heartbreaking defeat in Game 2.

Castro is a two-time winner, sharing the honors with Jimmy Alapag both times in the 2011 Philippine Cup and Commissioner’s Cup.

Other players from both teams still have outside chances of picking the award, provided they play important roles for the remainder of the Finals.

SMB’s Alex Cabagnot has had an inconsistent series but has posted 12.5 points on .418 shooting with 3.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals. Cabagnot was Finals MVP when the Beermen beat the KaTropa in the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup.

Teammate Chris Ross has won it twice (2016 and 2017 Philippine Cup) and has a solid case with averages of 11.0 points on a 50-percent clip, 4.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 4.0 steals.

Terrence Romeo is also a potential winner.

Already in his second finals since being acquired from TNT in December, Romeo has produced 14.3 points on .524 shooting highlighted by a 29-point showing in Game 2.

Over at TNT, Roger Pogoy posted 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals, though his three-point shooting has been suspect at times as evident of his 4-of-16 clip in the KaTropa’s losses in Games 2 and 4.

Don Trollano’s sudden rise from obscurity may result in a Finals MVP plum if he can amped up his averages of 14.8 points on .561 shooting, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals.

Trollano has become more than a just role player for the KaTropa with his ability to pick up offensive rebounds and knack for hitting corner threes. (JONAS TERRADO)

 

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