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    ABL Lifetime Achievement Awardee Leo Avenido not closing door on playing career

    Oct 17, 2017
    Leo Avenido was all smiles in receiving the ABL Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo from ABL

    LEO Avenido found humor in receiving the Asean Basketball League's first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

    "Kapag lifetime, ibig sabihin parang matanda na talaga ako," said the 39-year-old Avenido, who was awarded with the plum during Tuesday's ABL press conference.

    At the same time, Avenido said he cherishes getting the award from the ABL, a league he played for even during the start of the league in 2009 for the Brunei Barracudas.

    "Siyempre grateful at thankful din ako sa ABL na nabigyan ako ng chance na ganyan na first season pa lang, hanggang sa sixth to seventh season. Hindi ba ibang achievement na 'yun para sa akin. Tapos may MVP at may championship pa. Kumpleto na rin," said Avenido.

    After the Barracudas, Avenido played for the Saigon Heat, the Singapore Slingers, and the Bangkok Cobras.

    Avenido, however, found individual and team glory with San Miguel when he won the MVP award in 2012 before the Beermen won the ABL title the following year.

    "Siyempre, kaya nga naglaro din ako sa ABL, gusto ko rin makakuha ng championship bago matapos. Hindi lang para kumita, hindi lang para mag-import. Siyempre goal ko pa rin 'yun," said Avenido.

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    Avenido said he is also grateful to the ABL since he was able to return to the PBA after his stint in the Southeast Asian regional league.

    "Alam naman natin dito sa Pilipinas, ang PBA talaga ang ano natin. 'Yun talaga ang dream ng kabataan natin. Pero 'yung ABL, 'yun talaga 'yung nag-mold sa akin na talagang siyempre, overseas, mahirap, import ka doon, stay ka doon, wala pamilya mo. Talagang naka-focus ako ng maganda doon sa ABL," he said.

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    "Kaya kada tapos ng ABL, balik ako ng PBA. At least, nagbubunga naman 'yung paglalaro ko sa ABL," added Avenido.

    Although he was awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the ABL, Avenido said he is not closing the door on a playing stint, saying he has spoken with the CLS Knights of Indonesia.

    "Siyempre, gusto ko pa rin maglaro kung papayagan. Pero kung hindi na, siguro ipa-pass ko na 'yung torch sa mga young guys natin," said Avenido.

    "Ngayon, Indonesia, ita-try daw, kaso nga siyempre, marami nagtatryout. Sabi ko, subukan muna nila ('yung mga nagtatryout). Tapos baka bumagsak ako, siguro assistant coach na lang. Depende sa kanila kung ano gusto nila. Ako, wala naman, trabaho lang naman tayo eh," he added.

    As to a possible playing coach role in the ABL just like what he did for Gamboa Sports in the PBA D-League, Avenido said: "Na naman? Sakit na sa ulo niyan."

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      Leo Avenido was all smiles in receiving the ABL Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo from ABL
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