Taulava takes home ASEAN MVP honour

San Miguel Beermen big-man Asi Taulava has won the ASEAN Basketball League's (ABL) ASEAN MVP award by just four points from two other contenders.

Asi Taulava.
Marcus Chhan

By Marcus Chhan

In a hotly contested vote, Taulava edged team-mate and fellow nominee Chris Banchero,  Sports Rev Thailand Slammers' Froilan Baguion, Saigon Heat's Jai Reyes, and Indonesia Warriors' Mario Wuysang for the honour.

The ABL made the announcement on Wednesday, ending 24-hours worth of speculation after they had released the list of the five nominees a day earlier.

"We have some very talented players in our league, and any one of them would have made an excellent ASEAN MVP - and it is a testament to Asi Taulava that he was selected by the teams for this award," ABL CEO Anthony Macri said in a press statement.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to have Asi in the AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League this season. He was the go-to post player down the stretch of big games for the San Miguel Beermen all year long, and always seemed to deliver.

"He is a great ambassador of the game to the region as well, and I hope he has a few more years of play left in him for basketball fans throughout ASEAN to enjoy."

The 40-year-old Taulava has inspired team-mates and opponents alike with his dogged performances this season against much younger rivals including World Imports.

In the 2013 season, his debut in the ABL, Taulava averaged 10.9 points per game and 7.4 rebounds, but his leadership skills and professionalism have clearly also helped him take home the ASEAN MVP award.

"Man! I'm really happy and proud of him. He definitely deserves it," San Miguel guard Paulo Hubalde told FOX Sports.

"He's been working really hard and I am really impressed about his work ethic for a 40-year-old guy."

The selection process for the player awards began with ABL officials selecting nominees for each category based on statistics from the regular season. Nominees are required to have played in at least 16 games in order to be eligible.

The list of nominees was then sent to each team. Votes were then cast based on a ranking system. The league collates the ballots to determine the winners.

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