MANILA - After a disappointing semifinal exit in the PBA Philippine Cup, Junmar Fajardo can console himself with the top individual honor.
The sophomore center won his first Best Player of the Conference award Friday night right before Game Four of the Finals series between San Mig Super Coffee Mixers and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
Fajardo, though would've opted to play in the finals rather than win the individual accolade.
The 6-10 Cebuano center averaged 16.4 points, a league-best 14.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in a dominant run that ended in the semifinals as his Petron Blaze Boosters were booted out, 4-1, by the Painters.
Fajardo amassed a total of 1,268 points to win the award with 426 coming from statistical points, 575 from media votes, 117 from player votes, and 150 from the PBA.
The award came after losing the Rookie of the Year honors to Calvin Abueva last season.
"Medyo [parang consolation] but deserving naman si Calvin para sa award [last year]," Fajardo told reporters after accepting the award.
He won the award at the expense of his teammate and reigning MVP Arwind Santos, who also normed a double-double.
The 6-4 Santos averaged a team-best 17.1 points that came with 10.7 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, and 1 steal to merit nomination.
Petron Blaze, which recently switched back to its old name San Miguel Beermen, has surrounded Fajardo and Santos with new supporting cast and a new voice in the locker room.
Biboy Ravanes, alongside American Todd Purves, will now call the shots for the Beermen starting next conference as erstwhile coach Gee Abanilla was appointed as the new team manager.
The Beermen dealt playmaker Alex Cabagnot to GlobalPort in exchange for Sol Mercado and also acquired former Rookie of the Year Rico Maierhofer from Barako Bull.