Saigon Heat’s center Justin Williams has been named the 2014 AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League Defensive Player of the Year.
The recognition comes after he helped Saigon make history by advancing to the ABL Playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The 6-foot-10 center is a major defensive force in the league, leading the ABL in rebounds (17.5 rebounds per game) and in blocks (4.4 blocks per game). Williams earned the nickname “The Human Eraser” from the Heat’s commentator based on his ability to reject opponent’s shot.
“It is great accomplishment that I am honored to have. On behalf of myself and the Saigon Heat organization, I would like today to thank my teammates, our fans and the ABL,” said Williams after being notified of his awards.
Williams’ best defensive performance came on October 22 against the Indonesia Warriors where he grabbed 30 rebounds and blocked 7 shots. Because of Williams’ brilliant defensive performance, the Heat were able to defeat the Warriors 75-73 in overtime and punched in their playoffs ticket.
The Chicago native also recorded the most blocks in a game by any player this season on August 30th against the Laskar Dreya South Sumatra. In that game, Williams posted a triple-double with 18 points, 20 rebounds and 12 blocks.
“”This is a well-deserved award for Justin who at times single handily stopped opposing teams from scoring for large parts of the games. He has an elite level skill in defending the basket and we are thankful that he was able to showcase this talent for the Saigon Heat,” said Heat’ head coach Anthony Garbelotto.
Other nominees in the category included Wesports Malaysia Dragons’ Avery Scharer, JobStreet.com Singapore Slingers’ Justin Howard and also last season’s Defensive Player of the Year Chris Charles from Hi-Tech Bangkok City.