The AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League announced another individual award winner today: Steven Thomas of the Indonesia Warriors is the 2012 ABL Defensive Player of the Year. Thomas received the most votes from all the head coaches in the league, surpassing fellow nominees AirAsia Philippine Patriotsâ€™ Nakiea Miller and JobStreet.com Singapore Slingersâ€™ Louis Graham.Â
Thomas, who led the league in rebounding during the regular season with 14.67 rebounds per game, deflected attention when told the news. â€śItâ€™s a very humbling experience for me. Itâ€™s a blessing to win this award. I take pride on my defense. But I think itâ€™s a team game. You got to have all five guys on the same page. I just try to be a leader on the defensive end,â€ť said Thomas.Â
Thomas was gracious when he found outÂ that he had wonÂ the award but he knows there is more to accomplish. â€śWe have a bigger task on Saturday. We know itâ€™s going to be tough game playing on the road against San Miguel Beermen. But we are excited and ready to play,â€ť said Thomas about the upcoming decisive Game 3 on Saturday.Â
Warriorsâ€™ head coach Todd Purves was pleased to hear of the honor bestowed on his starting center. â€ś[Thomasâ€™] work ethic and his efforts on a day to day basis really set the standard for our team. Iâ€™m very happy that heâ€™s being acknowledged by his peers and head coaches. Heâ€™s been the unquestioned leader for our team and a coachâ€™s dream,â€ť said Purves about Thomas.