FOUR Filipinos including San Miguel Beermen cagers Chris Banchero and Asi Taulava have been nominated for the 2013 Asean Basketball League Most Valuable Player award.
Banchero and Taulava along with Sports Rev Thailand Slammers guard Froilan Baguion and Saigon Heat scorer Jai Reyes are all eligible for the league's highest individual honor, which will be voted upon by each team in the regional league and announced on Wednesday.
Mario Wuysang of the Indonesia Warriors was the lone non-Filipino nominated for the honor.
Banchero led the Beermen in scoring with an average of 16.4 points a game while also tallying team-best outputs in points and assists. The Fil-Italian guard played a big role in the Beermen’s league-record 16-game winning streak to end the regular season despite suffering an injury midway in the eliminations.
Taulava averaged 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in his first season in the league after a storied PBA career. But it was the way the 40-year-old veteran took the slack for the Beermen when Banchero was out that allowed him to make the grade as one of the MVP candidates.
Baguion made history when he finished with a triple-double of 10 pints, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds against Saigon last April 5. He led the league in assists with 9.2 a game including a season-high 17 last January 16 against the Heat. He was also second in steals with 2.7 per outing and.
Reyes was the lone bright spot for the Heat, who finished at the bottom of the team standings in the regular season. The former Ateneo Blue Eagle averaged 13.8 points and six assists for the Vietnam side.
In a statement, ABL CEO Anthony Macri noted the growth of Asean players this season.
“There is excellent talent throughout Asean, and we are happy the ABL provides a platform for these players to showcase their skills and abilities,” said Macri. “I am excited for the future of basketball in Southeast Asia because these men are great role models for young players to look up to.”