ADD the Asean Basketball League MVP award to the high points in Asi Taulava's long, rejuvenated career.
The San Miguel Beermen's big man was named the best Asean player of the regional league on Wednesday at age 40 after obtaining the most points in a ranking system based on votes from each of the league's six teams.
Taulava took the award exactly 10 years after winning his only MVP trophy in the PBA, beating out teammate Chris Banchero, Filipino imports Froilan Baguion of the Sports Rev Thailand Slammers and Jai Reyes of Saigon Heat, and Indonesia Warriors guard Mario Wuysang for the plum.
The league said that Taulava won the individual plum with four points separating him from the next two contenders which it declined to identify.
It appears that Taulava’s performance late in the eliminations got him the award.
After a slow start in his first year in the home-and-away league, Taulava went on to average 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Beermen. More importantly, he was instrumental in extending the team’s 16-game winning streak as he picked up the slack following an injury to star guard Banchero.
Thanks to the winning streak, the Beermen clinched the top seeding in the eliminations with a 19-3 win-loss slate. The Beermen will also be vying for the crown in the best-of-three series against the Indonesia Warriors starting on Friday.
ABL CEO Anthony Macri said Taulava is a great ambassador to the game in Southeast Asia.
“We have some very talented players in our league, and any one of them would have made an excellent Asean MVP - and it is a testament to Asi Taulava that he was selected by the teams for this award,” said Macri.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to have Asi in the AirAsia Asean Basketball League this season. He was the go-to post player down the stretch of big games for the San Miguel Beermen all year long, and always seemed to deliver.
“He is a great ambassador of the game to the region as well, and I hope he has a few more years of play left in him for basketball fans throughout Asean to enjoy."