FOR the first time in a long while, JuneMar Fajardo’s dominance in the Most Valuable Player race is being seriously threatened.
After playing only two games in the PBA Governors’ Cup eliminations, San Miguel Beer’s Fajardo has found a challenger in his bid for a record fifth MVP award in the person of NorthPort guard Stanley Pringle.
The 2015 Rookie of the Year awardee zoomed to the top in the stats’ race with a cumulative average of 35.5 points, relegating Fajardo down to second with 33.2.
The reigning four-time MVP winner had been the stats’ leader all season long until his need to take a rest to heal a stress fracture.
In the mere two games he played in the elims in the season-ending tourney, Fajardo collected an SP (statistical points) average of just 11.00, resulting in his slide in the standings.
Barangay Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar is at third with 32.9, NorthPort’s Sean Anthony is at fourth with 31.3 and another Ginebra player in Scottie Thompson rounds out the Top Five with 30.8.
Thompson breaking the Top Five has made him a top favorite for the Most Improved Player plum.
The next five are Phoenix Petroleum’s Matthew Wright (30.6), three SMB stars in Alex Cabagnot (30.2), Arwind Santos (30.0), Marcio Lassiter (29.9) and Alaska Milk new main man Vic Manuel (29.0).
Barely outside the Top 10 are Blackwater’s JP Erram (28.4), TNT KaTropa’s Jayson Castro (28.2) and Magnolia’s Paul Lee (27.5).
Fajardo has dropped down to No. 2 in the stats’ race but may still have a good case for himself in the balloting with his Best Player of the Conference awards in the Philippine Cup and in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Meanwhile, Phoenix Petroleum forward Jason Perkins is the leading contender for the Rookie of the Year award.
It could well be an all-La Sallite battle for the top rookie plum, with Jeron Teng (18.3) behind Perkins (23.4) in the race.
Top draft pick Christian Standhardinger and No. 2 selection Kiefer Ravena are out of the race as they failed to meet the required minimum number of games a contender must play in the season.
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