The AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League’s exciting third season ended today after a brand new champion was crowned at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, Philippines. The game was everything the fans wanted, exciting and it came down to the wire.
The Indonesia Warriors lifted the trophy as the AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League 2012 Champions after hanging on to beat San Miguel Beermen 78-76.
Stanley Pringle played a good game and finished as the team’s leading scorer with 28 points followed by Evan Brock with 15 points and 16 rebounds. Steve Thomas rounded off the Warriors’ top three with 10 points.
The Beermen’s Duke Crews also had a good game and finished as the game’s top scorer with 29 points, followed by Chris Banchero’s 16. Nick Fazekas rounded off the Beermen’s scorers with an 11 point and 16 rebounds double double.
Backed by a boisterous home crowd, the San Miguel Beermen got off to a quick start which earned them an 11-6 point lead heading out of the five minute mark in the first quarter. After a quick succession of shots in the fourth minute however, the Warriors managed to cut the deficit to just one point before a Wuysang three pointer put them ahead for the first time at 15-13 with 1:25 to go. The Warriors continued their shooting streak to head into the second quarter leading 19-13.
Both teams came out strong in the second quarter and stepped up their games. The Beermen were still having problems finding the net in the opening minutes and a Pringle steal and basket at the six minute mark gave the Warriors the first double digit lead of the game at 28-18. The Beermen showed their composure on the court however and made several excellent steals to retain possession and were able to cut their point deficit down to just five points at 33 to 38 heading into the second half of an incredible game.
A Crews dunk early in the third quarter set the Beermen back on track and Banchero’s basket at the eight minute mark saw the Beermen even things up at 38 all. The Warriors were determined to make this game count however and regained their ten point lead to head into the final period with a 64-53 lead.
Stanley Pringle made a three point a shot to give Warriors their biggest lead in the game 70-57 with 6:44 left in the game, but the Beermen managed to put up their own 10-0 run to get back to the game. Fajardo closed the gap with an important basket at 2:30 to see the scoreboard read 69-71 to the Warriors. Unfortunately for the Beermen Banchero, who had been great so far in the game, was fouled out with two minutes left on the clock after committing his fifth personal foul on Pringle.
It was still anybody’s guess who would be lifting the trophy in the final thirty, nailbiting seconds of the game as only four points separated the teams. The Beermen held possession and Crews put in another important basket to bring it back to a one basket game at 78-76 but Pringle was sent to the line again. Despite having converted 11 out of his 12 free throws up to that point in the game, Pringle missed both.
The door was open for the Beermen but unfortunately Leo Avenido’s missed a lay-up that can tie the game with seconds left which forced them to foul Brock right away. Brock went to the line and missed both of his attempts, but it was enough to wind the clock down to ensure that the scoreboard remained unchanged at the final buzzer and the Warriors got the win at 78 to 76.
Both teams were presented with their trophies at the ceremony held immediately after the game which opened with the San Miguel Beermen receiving their medals from the Chief Executive Officer of GE Philippines, Mr. Jocot deDios. The ABL’s newly crowned Local MVP for 2012 Leo Avenido was also given his trophy during the ceremony.
It was then fitting that the ABL’s newly crowned Coach of the Year 2012, Coach Todd Purves was then handed the AirAsia ABL Champions 2012 trophy by the Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia Philippines, Ms. Marianne Hontiveros, who also threw the tip off at the ABL’s season opener at this same venue back in January. Coach Purves and Steve Thomas were also then handed their trophies for ABL Coach of the Year 2012 and Defensive Player of the year 2012 respectively.
Capping off the proceedings was the presentation of the ABL Finals MVP by the CEO of the AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League, Mr. Kuhan Foo to the Warriors’ Evan Brock who had been outstanding in the Finals, averaging 21.67 points per game and 13.67 rebounds per game in the series.
Beermen: Duke Crews (29), Chris Banchero (16), Nick Fazekas (11), Leo Avenido (9), Junmar Fajardo (8), Froilan Baguion (3).
Warriors: Stanley Pringle (28), Evan Brock (15), Steve Thomas (10), Jerick Canada (7), Joseph Allan Salangsang (7), Mario Wuysang (4), Arki Dikania Wisnu (4), Amin Prihantono (3).