June Mar Fajardo at the 30th SEA Games (iNews.Ph file photo)

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebuano giant Junemar Fajardo of San Miguel Beermen immortalized his name in the annals of Philippine basketball as he wins his 6th Most Valuable Player award in the Philippine Basketball Association’s Leo Awards held on Sunday, March 8, 2020, at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
 The 6-foot-10 alumna of the University of Cebu Webmasters bested three other players – CJ Perez of Columbian Dyip, Jayson Castro of Talk ‘N Text Ka Tropa and Christian Standhardinger of NorthPort Batang Pier to win his sixth straight MVP plum, a feat that is hard to match or overcome.
“Sana di kayo magsawa (magbigay ng MVP title). Sana next year ulit (laughs). First of all I thank God for the blessings. Nakakalungkot ang nangyari na na injury ako, still I thank God because He is all good. Alam kong may plano Siya para sa akin. Maraming salamat din kay Boss RSA (Ramon S. Ang) sa lahat ng suporta binigay niya. Sa mga doctor, lead by Dr. (Raul) Canlas na gumamot sa Tibia injury ko, sa mga coach ko, teammates, pamilya ko, PBA people, Media and players. At kay Atty. (Baldomero) Estenzo at sa pamilyang Estenzo, sa mga Cebuano maraming salamat sa inyong lahat,”
“At sa mga magulang ko sila ang dahilan bakit ako nagsikap. Gusto kong mabigyan sila nang ginhawa. Gusto kong maging secure ang buhay nila. Yung di na kailangan nila isipin saan kukunin ang pambayad ng kuryente, tubig at ibang pang kailangan. Saan hanapin ang pagkain, sila talaga ang inspirasyon ko. Gusto kong maging maayos ang buhay nila kaya ako nagsikap para ibigay sa kanila ang magandang buhay,” Fajardo said in his acceptance speech.
It was a sort of “grand entrance” for Fajardo who rode an electronic scooter from the ramps on his way to receive his 6th MVP trophy. Fajardo’s parents – Bonifacio Jr. and Marites, were beaming with so much pride while holding the other trophies of the “Kraken” as they joined their son and the Board of Governors and Commissioner Willy Marcial at the center.
Fajardo suffered a broken right tibia during the team practice last Feb. 3 and was ruled out of SMB’s sixth straight Philippine Cup title or maybe the entire 45th Season of the PBA, which was also formally opened shortly after the Leo Awards.
Aside from the MVP title, Fajardo was also named a member of the All-Defensive Team along with Perez, Chriss Ross of the Beermen, Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra Kings and Sean Anthony of NorthPort; and the First Mythical Team along with Castro, Perez, Anthony and Standhardinger.
Perez the first overall draft pick of the 2018 PBA Draft also won the Rookie of the Year award, defeating Robert Bolick of NorthPort, Javee Mocon of Rain or Shine, Bobby Ray Parks of TNT and Abu Tratter of Alaska Aces.
Mo Tautuaa of SMB was named the Most Improved Player beating Jackson Corpus of Columbia, Bong Galanza of NLEX, Rey Nambatac of ROS, Philip Paniamogan of NLEX, Don Trollano of Black Water Elite and Matthew Wright of Phoenix.
Rain or Shine guard Gabe Norwood bested Troy Rosario of TNT, Chris Newsome of Meralco, Nambatac of ROS, Fajardo of SMB, Mac Belo of Black Water and Baser Amer of Meralco for the Samboy LimSportsmanship Award.
With Fajardo expected to be sidelined most this Season, the MVP race is now a wide-open race.
Here is the complete list of awardees of the Leo’s Award 2019.
Bida Team Staff
– Ruffino Hanopol (Team Utility of San Miguel Beermen)
Loyal PBA Employee
– Gerry Mesias (started as ticketing in 1982)
Bida Fans
– Jun Nuestro (PBA Fan since 1888)
– Tess Villanueva (Ginebra Fan since 1980)
Samboy Lim Sportsmanship Award
– Gabe Norwood (Rain or Shine)
Most Improved Player
– Mo Tautuaa (SMB)
All-Defensive Team
– CJ Perez (Columbian Dyip)
– Chris Ross (SMB)
– Japeth Aguilar (Ginebra)
– Sean Anthony (NorthPort)
– Junemar Fajardo (SMB)
Rookie of the Year
– CJ Perez (Columbian Dyip)
Second Mythical Team
– Stanley Pringle (Ginebra)
– Japeth Aguilar (Ginebra)
– Troy Rosario (TNT)
– Ian Sangalang (Magnolia)
First Mythical Team
– Jayson Castro (TNT)
– CJ Perez (Columbian)
– Sean Anthony (NorthPort)
– Junemar Fajardo (SMB)
– Christian Standhardinger (NorthPort)
Most Valuable Player
– Junemar Fajaro (SMB)