Will the reigning MVP retains his hold of the crown? Can the former multiple winner regain his crowning glory? Or will there be a new king ascending to the throne?
The PBA Annual Leo Awards is set to provide the answer on Sunday when the league honors the top achievers of Season 47 including the MVP and Rookie of the Year.
Last year’s winner Scottie Thompson, six-time awardee June Mar Fajardo, and Christian Standardinger are contesting the league’s top individual plum in one of the tightest MVP races in recent years.
The 4 p.m. awards rites presented by Arena Plus will precede the formal opening of Season 48 where Magnolia Hotshots and TNT Tropang Giga collide in the lone game set at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
All top three candidates each won the Best Player of the Conference award – Fajardo in the Philippine Cup, Thompson in the Commissioner’s Cup, and Standhardinger in the Governors’ Cup.
Fajardo and Thompson ended up winning the championship in the All-Filipino (San Miguel) and Commissioner’s Cup (Barangay Ginebra), respectively, while Standhardinger fell short of claiming the title as the Kings finished runner-up to the TNT Tropang Giga in the season-ending conference.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo, though led all candidates in the stats department, averaging 42.2 statistical points compared to Thompson’s 35.5 and Standhardinger’s 33.6.
CJ Perez, another San Miguel player, is considered a darkhorse for the MVP plum as he finished second behind Fajardo in the statiscal race with 36.1, while consistently in the running for the Best Player of the Conference award during the entire season.