It has been a season of making history in the ASEAN Basketball League.
Broken records, career-highs, and unforgettable moments, make up the action-filled eighth season of the ABL.
And the league awarded the individuals who stood out right before tipoff of Game 2 of the ABL Finals between San Miguel Alab Pilipinas and Mono Vampire Basketball Club in front of a jam-packed Sta. Rosa Multi Purpose Complex, in Laguna, Philippines.
The Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball may have had a disappointing semifinals, but they’re not going empty-handed in their first ABL season.
Anthony Tucker took home the World Import Most Valuable Player award, edging San Miguel Alab Pilipinas’ Renaldo Balkman and last year’s winner Marcus Elliott of Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team. Through 20 games, the 6-foot-4 guard averaged 22.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and was third in the league in assists with 7.8 a game. He was also a dead shot in the perimeter, boasting a 45.4 percent shooting clip, including 3.7 triples per outing. Some of his best games in his first ABL season include a 35-point explosion against the Mono Vampire and a late-game takeover in their final meeting against Hong Kong Eastern.
Fellow Kung Fu reinforcement Mikh McKinney meanwhile was heralded as the Heritage Import MVP. The Filipino-American was a Swiss-army knife, providing a little bit of everything for his squad. He averaged 22.2 points, 5.6 boards, and 5.8 assists. He was also a tireless workhorse on the defensive end with 2.2 steals a game. Throughout the regular season, he earned Player of the Week honors four times.
In the Local MVP category, Ray Parks Jr. of San Miguel Alab Pilipinas won the award for the second straight year. He led all locals in the league with 15.2 points, while also adding 4.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.1 steals. Just as he had done last year, he was a vital cog in Alab’s sensational run this season. His offense has remained exceptional, but he vastly improved his defense, guarding the opposing team’s best perimeter players. Parks bested Lee Ki of Hong Kong Eastern and Delvin Goh of the Singapore Slingers for the award.
For the first time in league history, two players earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. Alab Pilipinas’ Renaldo Balkman and Singapore’s Chris Charles were named as the best defenders of the league.
Balkman anchored Alab Pilipinas with 1.9 blocks and 2.2 steals per game. Charles meanwhile earned his third Defensive Player of the Year plum, proving that he remains to be a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end. Charles led the league in blocks with 2.9 a game, while also getting 1.1 steals.
Chong Son Kung Fu coach Charles Dube-Brais was named as the league’s top tactician after helping the Chinese team to the number one seed with a 15-5 record. With Dube-Brais at the helm, Chong Son was efficient on both offense and defense. They were second in field goal percentage (47.4 percent) and second in assists (21.2). On the other end, they only allowed 81.9 points, and was the best in defending the three-point line with teams mustering up just 28.3 percent against them. Chong Son was the only undefeated team at home with a pristine 10-0 record.