Manila, Philippines – Leo Avenido has endured constant heartbreak ever since he joined the AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League.
But the 6-foot-2 veteran is hoping to end up on the winning side this time as one of San Miguel’s top guns in their best-of-three title showdown with the Indonesia Warriors which starts on Saturday.
“I’ve been on the losing end for the ﬁrst two seasons but I hope I could win this time,” Avenido said in Filipino when asked about the opportunity of finally winning an ABL title during yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s UN Avenue.
He has been a main ﬁxture in this regional-based league, playing for the Brunei Barracudas in the inaugural 2009-10 season before playing last year for the Singapore Slingers.
After a stint with Barako Bull in the PBA Philippine Cup, Avenido was picked up by San Miguel for its maiden ABL campaign and has been nothing but superb.
After averaging almost 15 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists through the Beermen’s semifinal win over the Westports Malaysia Dragons, Avenido is a cinch to win the coveted Most Valuable Player, a first for a Filipino player.
Avenido, however, has other things in mind.
“It would be nice to win the MVP award but it would be much better if we win the championship,“ said Avenido. “But it takes a team effort for us to bag the crown.“
Avenido and the rest of the team are confident of its chances against Indonesia, which pulled off five consecutive victories late in the regular season before sweeping the AirAsia Philippine Patriots in the semis.
“Our advantage is that we got a deep bench but everyone has to work together and make a better preparation for the finals,“ he said.
San Miguel swept Indonesia in their three meetings in the regular season but coach Bobby Parks and Fil-Am Chris Banchero said that its back to square one.
The Warriors sizzled late thanks to the addition of the high-flying American Evan Brock and slashing Fil-Am guard Stanley Pringle.
“We won all three games against them but they’re not the same team that we played before,” Parks said. “They went out and made some changes and at the same time we overhauled our team. Its like we haven’t met before so it works both ways.”
Banchero is one of the new San Miguel players, the other being import Nick Fazekas, who hasn’t met the Warriors. In the ﬁnals, he is expected to face Pringle in an intriguing matchup.
“This is going to be the ﬁrst time that I’ll face against them,” Banchero said. “We have watched them play and they look like a very good team. It’s going to be a great matchup, we gonna have our hands full. We need to come out right of the bat play as tough as in (our Game 3 semifinal win) against Malaysia.“ (Jonas Terrado)