MANILA, Philippines – The 2017 PBA Leo Awards is set before Game Four of the PBA Governors Cup finale on October 20 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, and it could well be the night of June Mar Fajardo just like the three previous PBA season-end awards rites.
The San Miguel Beer prized behemoth looks cinch to extend his MVP reign to fourth straight year after ending up as the breakaway winner of the stats race.
With his whopping stats total in the season and his Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference plum, Fajardo is the outstanding pick for the top honors in the Leo Awards versus teammates Chris Ross, Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos, GlobalPort hotshot Terrence Romeo and TNT KaTropa ace Jayson Castro.
If ever, the Cebuano gentle giant would only be the third PBA player to win four MVP trophies after Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio.
Separating Fajardo from his fourth MVP plum is the balloting process that’s ongoing now.
Fajardo finished with an average of 38.58 points in the stats race, six points clear of runner-up and SMB teammate Cabagnot (32.96).
Romeo wound up third at 32.01, Castro came in at fourth with 31.52, then Santos at fifth with 30.97.
Closely behind Santos were Japeth Aguilar (30.85), Stanley Pringle (30.63), Ross (30.4), Calvin Abueva (30.11) and Marcio Lassiter (29.5).
Others making the Top 25 were Chris Newsome, LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, Matthew Wright, Joe Devance, Alex Mallari, Sean Anthony, Paul Lee, Cliff Hodge and Kelly Williams.
These 20 players fight for spots in the Mythical First Team and the Mythical Second Team in the balloting.
Wright is the lone rookie to make the Top 20.
The Phoenix Petroleum gunner is the leading candidate for the Rookie of the Year award versus TNT KaTropa’s Roger Pogoy, Star’s Jio Jalalon and Ginebra’s Kevin Ferrer. The four are all Gilas pool members.
As winners of the Philippine Cup BPC and the Commissioner’s Cup BPC, Fajardo and Ross are automatically included in the official list of candidates for the season MVP award.
Also to be included in the list are the Governors Cup BPC winner and the stats frontrunners. The Governors Cup Best Player will be named before Game Two of the Ginebra-Meralco finale at the Big Dome Sunday.