Avenido receives first-ever ABL lifetime achievement award
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 17, 2017 06:39 PM
PIONEER. Leo Avenido made his mark four different countries in Southeast Asia. (Photo courtesy of ABL)
Now heading into its eighth season, the Asean Basketball League has just given out its first lifetime achievement award.
And there is no better recipient other than the player who has won a championship, won an MVP, and won the hearts of four different countries in the region.
Leo Avenido was handed the first-ever ABL Lifetime Achievement Award on Tuesday at the Shangri-La at the Fort in Taguig City. “’Pag lifetime, ibig sabihin, parang matanda na talaga e no,” he joshed with reporters afterward.
Turning serious, however, he said, “Siyempre, grateful ako sa ABL na nabigyan nila ako ng chance na (makuha itong award).”
Avenido showcased his wares in the league for six seasons and won both the championship and the Local MVP plum with the San Miguel Beermen in 2012. “Siyempre, yung championship yung pinaka-memorable kasi kaya nga naglaro sa ABL, gusto kong makakuha ng championship. Hindi goal lang na para kumita, para mag-import, goal talaga yung championship,” he shared.
He then continued, “Tapos nag-MVP pa ako. MVP tapos championship, grabe, ‘di ba?”
He compiled 1, 627 total points, tops in all-time scoring, and saw action in 117 total games, fourth most in league history.
Along with representing his country, the shifty guard also suited up and starred for Brunei’s Barracudas, Vietnam’s Saigon Heat, and Thailand’s Mono Vampire.
And that experience, spreading the love for basketball across Southeast Asia, is another source of pride for Avenido. “Nag-mold talaga sa akin na siyempre, overseas kaya mahirap. Kaya talagang dapat makapag-focus nang maganda doon,” he said.
He then continued, “Dahil doon, naging role model ka rin sa iba, naging inspiration na maglaro nang mabuti, magtrabaho lang nang mabuti, ganyan.”
Still, the Lifetime Achievement Award isn’t the end of the road for the now 38-year-old – if he had his way. As he put it, “Siyempre, gusto ko pa rin maglaro kung papayagan. Pero kung hindi na, siguro ipa-pass ko na yung torch sa mga young guys.”
Apparently, a new team, meaning a new country, is interested in the services of Avenido – whether it be player or mentor. “Ngayon, Indonesia, ita-try raw. Siyempre, marami ring nagta-tryout kaya sabi ko, subukan muna nila,” he shared.
He then continued, “Baka bumagsak, assistant coach na lang. depende lang kung anong gusto nila.”
If this pushes through, then the CLS Knights will be the only team in the league who can brag that they have a Lifetime Achievement Awardee with them.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.