Regardless of who you were rooting for in the 2022 Honda PBA Philippine Cup, you have to be happy with how June Mar Fajardo’s PBA Season 47 has turned out so far.

Coming off a complete fracture of his right tibia back in February 2020, many were wondering which version of Fajardo would show up once he returned to the court. Would he still be the Fajardo that won a record six PBA MVPs? Or would he be a shell of himself?

At this point, it may not be accurate, or even fair to say either yes or no since it won’t do justice to how things have been.

It’s true, Fajardo needed time to shake off the rust, but when the former first overall pick in the 2012 PBA Draft finally rediscovered his form, the end result was another championship for him and the league-leading 28th title for the San Miguel Beermen.

Fajardo’s per-game averages of 19.0 points (on 69.6 percent field goal shooting), 16.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.1 blocks in 38.5 minutes of play during the seven-game finals series were a notch up from his preliminary round per-game averages of 18.6 points (on 63.4 percent field goal shooting), 13.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.6 blocks, and a steal in 39.2 minutes of play. That those finals averages came while figuring heavily into the TNT Tropang Giga’s defensive gameplan and being chiefly guarded by Kelly Williams only adds to the degree of difficulty and his ability to rise above it. That’s what the great ones do and thus, it’s no surprise that he was named the MVP of the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup Finals.

The Beermen clinched the title in part through the efforts of CJ Perez in Game 7 (team-highs of 25 points, seven assists, and two steals), but Fajardo was very much involved on both ends of the floor during that contest. From protecting the paint to making plays for himself and his teammates, the Cebuano did everything in his power to stave off foul trouble and finish off the defending All-Filipino Conference champions with 19 points (on 11 shot attempts), 18 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. Despite the Tropang Giga’s best efforts, Fajardo could not be contained as he found space or created it for himself.


The now 4-time PBA Finals MVP also had the last say when he put the final nail in the coffin for this series.

Taking into account his injuries and age (Fajardo will turn 33 on November 17) and the number of chances we will see this version of Fajardo will be less. The Beermen have more often than not reloaded rather than rebuilt, and while it’s still in their best interest to build around the nine-time PBA Best Player of the Conference, balancing that out with a long-term plan in mind will also help prolong Fajardo’s career. Winning a title, however, could keep things status quo at least for the near term.

Of course, it can be too early to tell but it shouldn’t stop us from appreciating the greatness of one June Mar Fajardo. An athlete with his combination of skills, work ethic, determination, and ability to dominate is very rare to find and San Miguel has been wise to maximize and take care of Fajardo thus far. The window of opportunity for an SMB grand slam has now opened and Fajardo is already a frontrunner for league MVP, but Fajardo and company would prefer to enjoy this moment for now and take things one game at a time.

At the end of the day, it’s great to see Fajardo and the San Miguel Beermen back on top again. The Kraken’s redemption arc from his devastating leg injury is complete, yet his story as one of the PBA’s greatest (if not, THE GREATEST) players is far from over.