By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The accolades just keep on pouring for June Mar Fajardo.
The San Miguel Beermen behemoth clinched a record-extending 7th PBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, the only player to achieve this feat in the history of the league.
Fajardo edged his teammate CJ Perez and the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel duo of Scottie Thompson and Christian Standhardinger for the trophy last November 5, 2023, during the Leo Awards ceremony.
The six-foot-ten dominant center tallied an average of 40.2 Statistical Points (SP) after finishing the previous PBA season with 17.7 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game.
Coming off a resurgence when he fractured his right tibia three years ago, Fajardo stressed that he thought his career would be over after suffering the threatening injury.
“Nung na injured ko yung tibia ko, akala ko tapos na ang career ko. Thankful ako kay God at sa mga doctor na tumulong pra makabalik ako sa level na kung saan man ako ngayon,” said Fajardo.
After almost a year of absence, Fajardo successfully made his comeback in the PBA and quickly made an impact when he led the Beermen to a championship title.
Aside from his PBA achievements, Fajardo also won a historic gold medal during the recently concluded 2023 Asian Games when Gilas Pilipinas outdueled Jordan in the grand finals.
Fajardo also balled out during the 2023 FIBA World Cup, earning praise from different international pro players including NBA star Karl Anthony-Towns who represented the Dominican Republic.
Before receiving the prestigious MVP trophy, Fajardo was named as a member of the PBA Mythical first-team selection.
Completing last season’s best starting five alongside Fajardo were Thompson, Standhardinger, Perez, and Jamie Malonzo.