Last Sunday, January 13, the first season of the Philippine Basketball Association to begin close to the start of a new year since 2003 kicked off at the largest sports venue in the country. Blockbuster crowds went to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan to witness the opening ceremonies and the first game of the 2019 PBA season. But before the grand opening there was a portion where the achievements of the league’s players in the season that passed were commemorated and awarded, the PBA Leo Awards for league MVPs. And in that particular awards night, one player cemented the record he set last year.
CNN Philippines reports that, on the PBA Leo Awards for the 2017-18 season, June Mar “the Kraken” Fajardo of the San Miguel Beermen extended his league MVP streak to five years. This was after he had already put himself in the PBA record books by becoming the third player to be named as most valuable player for four consecutive times in the 2016-17 Season. He joined “Captain” Alvin Patrimonio and “Commissioner” Ramon Fernandez in that uncommon milestone; now he has surpassed them both and by extension all other players in the PBA with this achievement.
In the 2017-18 season race for the MVP honor in the PBA Leo Awards, the age 29 basketball giant from Compostela, Cebu was in hot competition points-wise with guard Stanley Pringle of the NorthPort Batang Pier. Ultimately the Beerman’s 2,436 points leaped ahead of Pringle’s 2,041 to clinch the MVP award. These points are calculated from game career stats and votes cast by members of the media and PBA players.
The Kraken was not the only winner on the PBA Leo Awards last Sunday. Other honorees include Jason Perkins (Phoenix Fuel Masters) as Rookie of the Year, Scottie Thompson (Barangay Ginebra) as Most Improved Player, and Gabe Norwood (Rain or Shine Elasto Painters) for Sportsmanship.
The team-grouped awardees are:
First Mythical 5 – Fajardo, Pringle, Paul Lee (Magnolia Hotshots), Japeth Aguilar (Barangay), Marcio Lassiter (Beermen)
Second Mythical 5 – Thompson, Mark Barroca (Hotshots), Arwind Santos (Beermen), Poy Erram (NLEX Road Warriors), and Matthew Wright (Fuel Masters)
All-Defensive – Fajardo, Norwood (Elasto Painters), Rafi Reavis (Hotshots), Rome dela Rosa (Hotshots), Chris Ross (Beermen)
The PBA Leo Awards is formerly known as MVP Awards Night and Annual Awards. Honorees receive the Leo statuette depicting the PBA logo player in 3D, an award named after first PBA commissioner Leo Prieto.
Following the Leo Awards and the Season 2019 opening ceremony, the first game of the PBA for this year took place between Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and the TNT KaTropa.
Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News