Ariel Vanguardia named Coach of the Year after leading Malaysia Dragons to ABL Finals
Ariel Vanguardia led the Dragons to a league-best 15-5 record this season.

THE season’s best coach in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) is another Filipino.

Ariel Vanguardia of the Malaysia Dragons has been named the league’s 2014 Coach of the Year, re-asserting the Filipinos' stature as one of the best basketball minds in the Southeast Asian region.

Vanguardia won the coveted plum after getting the nod of fellow ABL coaches for his superb handling of the Dragons, who posted the league’s best record of 15-5  to reach the league finals for the first time.

“This award is special because I know my fellow ABL coaches were the ones who voted. This is also for my very supportive family back home,” said Vanguardia in a statement.

It was the second straight year a Filipino won the ABL Coach of the Year after Leo Austria also clinched the award last year for leading the San Miguel Beermen to the championship.

Austria is now head coach of the Beermen in the PBA.

Todd Purves, currently a consultant for San Miguel in the pro league, was also adjudged ABL Coach of the Year after leading the Indonesia Warriors to the 2012 title.

Vanguardia and the Dragons start their title bid on Saturday when they face the Hi-Tech Bangkok City in a best-of-three series.

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