PBA: As the Northport debut approaches, John Amores recalls the Benilde event; June Mar had only one wish after earning her seventh MVP award

Nov 6, 2023

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Almost a year has passed since the memorable brawl between Jose Rizal University’s John Amores and College of Saint Benilde, and the two teams are scheduled to meet again in the NCAA second round on Tuesday, with a possible Final Four berth at stake.

Meanwhile, Amores is preparing to make his PBA debut as a member of Northport, hoping to leave the shadows of his past sins behind.

Amores’ future in basketball remained questionable in the aftermath of the tragedy.

He was forced to leave the squad and the school, and he was embroiled in a criminal case involving victims Jimboy Pasturan and Taine Davis.

Amores was also kicked off the Heavy Bombers and given a one-year suspension by the NCAA.

Soon after, Amores struck an agreement with Pasturan and Davis in his case, giving him the opportunity to restart his basketball career and reform.

Amores spent the next year bouncing from league to league, appearing in the ASEAN Basketball League with Zamboanga and the MPBL with Muntinlupa, all while meditating on the repercussions of his conduct to ensure he didn’t squander the opportunity to resurrect his career.

Amores’ perseverance was rewarded when Northport selected him with the 51st overall choice in the 2023 PBA Draft and engaged him to a one-year deal.

He is poised to make his PBA debut on Friday, the week after the anniversary of his incident with the Blazers, and the 23-year-old wing from Laguna is eager to take the lessons he has learned on his road to redemption with him.

The player has a chance to create a career for himself independent from the shadow of his past transgressions as he enters the PBA environment, the peak of Philippine basketball, and he knows better than to take advantage of the chance now.

Whereas, June Mar Fajardo winning the PBA Most Valuable Player title is nothing new.

His coronation on Sunday, however, was a little different.

The San Miguel star ascended the stage alone at the Season 47 Leo Awards, without his parents, as he had done for the previous six years.

It should be noted that June Mar lost his mother, Marites, in 2021, while he was still healing from a serious leg injury.

That’s why, during his acceptance speech, he became emotional, wiping away tears as he dedicated MVP Award No. 7 to his late mother.

Nevertheless, he also knows that she is up there grinning with delight at his latest accomplishment.

The 33-year-old is also pleased to have received the PBA’s highest individual honor, especially given the difficulties he has encountered in recent years.

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