Austria gets ABL Coach of the Year nod

The ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) have named San Miguel Beermen's Leo Austria as Coach of the Year for the 2013 season.

Leo Austria
Marcus Chhan

By Marcus Chhan

In a press statement the ABL revealed it would be announcing award winners for the season individually, beginning with the 2013 Coach of the Year.

These awards, handed out annually to honour outstanding performances throughout the season, include World Import MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and ASEAN MVP award.

The ABL revealed its Coach of the Year winner on Monday.

"The votes have been counted and the ABL is proud to announce that the 2013 Coach of the Year award goes to the San Miguel Beermen's Leo Austria."

Austria has overseen a record-breaking season in the ABL, leading the Beermen to the top of the regular season standings with a record of 19-3.

Among the highlights for the San Miguel outfit were a league record 16-game win streak as well as also posting the highest win margin in league history by dismantling the Saigon Heat 101-49 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on the 17th of April.

The Filipinos were also part of the ABL's first triple overtime game 10 days ago when Austria's men defeated the Westports Malaysia Dragons 107-104 in a regular season game in Kuala Lumpur.

"Coach Leo Austria was at the top of his profession all season long, and this award is no surprise," ABL CEO Anthony Macri said.

"A great blend of tactician and motivator, Coach Austria's understated approach was a strong influence on his players, and we are lucky to have him here in the ASEAN Basketball League."

Austria has little time to celebrate this personal accolade, though, as San Miguel are currently locked 1-1 in their best-of-five Semi-final series against the Sports Rev Thailand Slammers.

Game 3 is on Tuesday night in Bangkok.

In a text message to FOX Sports, Austria did reveal that the award had "inspired him to work harder" but that winning the ABL Championship with his team was "more important" to him.

Every coach in the ABL this season was eligible to win the award and Austria's selection was made by his peers.

"I think he was the obvious choice. He has done a phenomenal job this year. He had my vote and I am very happy for him," Warriors coach, and last season's recipient, Todd Purves said.

Dragons coach Ariel Vanguardia, who went head-to-head with Austria in the amazing triple overtime loss to the Beermen earlier this month, agreed.

"He deserves it. A 16-game win streak is an amazing feat in any sport," he said.

"I've been coaching against coach Leo in Collegiate basketball in the Philippines and he' such a humble and great person on and off the court. Cheers to many battles ahead coach!"

The ABL have not made any formal announcement on when Austria will be presented with his award but FOX understands it is likely to happen during the ABL Finals.



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