June Mar Fajardo, Arwin Santos lead PBA awardees
San Miguel Beermen’s star player June Mar Fajardo and NorthPort veteran Arwind Santos will be feted along with other players and executives in the annual PBA Press Corps Awards Night set on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, at the Novotel Manila Araneta Center. It will be the first face-to-face awards ceremony since 2019.
Cebuano Fajardo will romp away with the Comeback Player of the Year award name after PBA legend Bogs Adornado while 41-year-old Santos will receive his third Defensive Player of the Year plum.
The six-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) Fajardo made his presence felt after a successful return from a one-year hiatus due to a shin injury.
It can be recalled that Adornado survived several injuries en route to collecting three MVP trophies in his entire PBA career.
In his first season comeback, Fajardo averaged 13.8 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 1.8 assists, steering the Beermen to a Philippine Cup semifinals stint and Governor’s Cup quarterfinals appearance.
He also formed part of the elite Mythical First Team along with Santos, Barangay Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson, TNT’s Mikey Williams, and Magnolia’s Calvin Abueva.
Arwind Santos Wins PBA Defensive Player
Meanwhile, Santos, who also got the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2011 and 2008, is the oldest player to receive such recognition from the body composed of sports media practitioners regularly covering the PBA beat. He ties with Marc Pingris and Chris Jackson who also has three Defensive Player of the Year awards to their names.
He averaged 14.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and a league-best 1.5 blocks per game in the past season, catapulting him to the Mythical First Team and All-Defensive Team.
Williams, for his part, will receive the Scoring Champion title. He is also named a member of the All-Rook Team along with Rain or Shine’s Santi Santillan, NLEX’s Calvin Oftana, NorthPort’s Jamie Malonzo, and Terrafirma’s Joshua Munzon.
The Rookie of the Year will be the winningest player of the annual awards as he is also set to receive the Order of Merit alongside Ian Sangalang of Magnolia, Robert Bolick of NorthPort, and Matthew Wright of Phoenix.
Only players with the most number of Player of the Week citations from the PBA Press Corps can receive the Order of Merit.
Chot Reyes is named as Season 46 Coach of the Year for TNT Tropang Giga’s Philippine Cup championship victory, making it his sixth Virgilio ‘Baby’ Dalupan trophy. He bested Barangay Ginebra’s Tim Cone for the much-coveted award.
Also sharing the limelight are Barangay Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua (Danny Floro Executive of the Year), Meralco’s Allein Maliksi (Mr. Quality Minutes), and officials of San Miguel and NorthPort (Game of the Season). Former MVP Vergel Meneses, re-elected Bulakan, Bulacan mayor, will be the keynote speaker of the awarding rites that will also be graced by PBA chairman Ricky Vargas and the league Board, and commissioner Willie Marcial.