We are finally approaching the end of our awards ceremony and I have to say it’s been a hell of a good time looking back at the season and giving respect to where it is deserved. We have a couple more awards to hand out before we finally bow out and let the final scenes of this ABL season play itself out.
So, for one last time, here is the third and final part of Tones & Definition’s awards for the ABL Season 2014.
Jersey of the Year
I love basketball jerseys. I love the way they are designed to tell a story. The way each color has its own meaning. For the ABL, I have been trying to collect as many jerseys and I will say I have done okay.
I love their color combination for their away jersey. Navy and maroon are really strong and they kind of remind of the Detroit Pistons Motor City Jersey that are a personal favorite. I also like the little circle on the left side of the jersey that is the Indonesian flag as well. However, I am not a fan of the “slapping-the-team-logo-on-the-jersey” approach as I feel that it a tad bit lazy and lacks creativity. I like their creativity on the back of their jerseys by putting their twitter handle on the back.
The Heat keep it simple with a red/yellow combination with a touch of black around the edges for their away jerseys and a while/yellow combo with red edges. I would have been more enthusiastic if they had “Saigon” on the front for away games and “Heat” for home games, like most American sports team. However, they chose to go and slap the teams logo on the front of their jerseys again, which I must remind you again that I am not completely fond of. I like the little “Coach Rab” badge on the top left hand corner, paying tribute to their late coach. One interesting things is that they have a touch of the Star Spangled Banner on the back of their jerseys, which I guess goes along with the Vietnamese “Lone Star” flag theme a bit. A nice solid jersey. I was a proud owner of both home and away Saigon Heat jersey, but I gave the away jersey away to an American couple who went to watch the Slingers-Heat game at OCBC.
I personally really wished they had come out with a black jersey, that would have been awesome.
Li-Ning sponsors the Warriors jersey so I kind of expected more out of this. What we got was another jersey that slapped the team logo on the middle of the jersey and went with it. I like their away colorway with their red having an orange-ish tone, and that white line across the chest is a nice touch, but the home colorway is a bit too soft. The Warriors jerseys are clean and there’s nothing to hate about it though. I couldn’t get my hands on the Warriors jerseys though. They had a nice Breast Awareness Cancer Jersey thing going on like the Singapore Slingers, although they never wore them in game and the fans had fun bidding on that. My only regret is that I never tried to bid for it.
Hi-Tech Bangkok City
I might be a little bit biased, but I really like the Home jerseys for Hi-Tech Bangkok City. Instead of slapping the Flying Elephant logo, they placed the official symbol of Bangkok on there, and it just looks badass. The tone of the green that Hi-Tech uses is not too soft and blends in well. They almost went away with this reward, if only they had put the Bangkok City logo on the away jerseys as well. Without that, it just looks way too plain and normal, and might be even worse than slapping the team logo on their. I have ordered the Home jerseys of Hi-Tech already, and waiting for them to open the order for the Green Away jerseys.
Another team that could have pulled off this award. They have a very simplistic approach to their jersey, but I really like that they used their team name on the jersey instead of putting the merlion on there. They also have the best pants game in the league, with those triple color bands at the end of the legs. I love their Breast cancer awareness game jerseys and won the bid for Ng Han Bin’s jersey adding to my collection of the solid home and away jerseys as well. I really don’t have quite an idea of what they could do better with this, but I have to give the award to thus next team.
My Pick: Westports Malaysia Dragons
From images of the past season, the Dragons have had one of the most eye popping jerseys in the League. And this year seems to be no difference. They fully embrace the “Dragons” in their name and have a black Dragon gliding along on their away jerseys and a red Dragons flying through their home jerseys. The colorways just work well with the concept, even the surprisingly above average Teal/Black wihch didn’t quite work out for the Detroit Pistons of the late 90’s/early 2000’s.
I might not be a master at this photoshop game, but I’d love to see the Dragons try out with a “Golden Dragon” concept. Maybe for Chinese New Year’s?
Fans of the Year
I’d really like to say that this award took me a lot of time an consideration, but I’d totally be lying. This award was given out the moment the idea for this award came up. Actually, in a way, this award is possible because these fans were so great that I had to find some way to show them some love.
My Pick: CIS Crazies, Saigon Heat
Let’s start with the numbers first. Facebook likes might not be the best way to appreciate fandom, but it paints an acceptable picture.
In case the chart wasn’t clear enough, The Saigon Heat has almost as much Facebook Likes as all of the other teams combined AND the ABL’s facebook page. It is just crazy how much interaction the Heat organization get with their fans.
Stepping away from the numbers, I had the chance to experience 4 fan bases at their home courts and I really have to say that the Heat’s sit easily on the top. Of all the 7 heat games I have attended, there has barely been an empty seat in the stands. The groans that come with a mistake on defense or a missed shot booms throughout CIS Arena as loud as the cheers when they make a shot or make a good defensive play. They might be taking a beating, but the fans rarely leave before the game ends to take photos with the players, both side, after the game. It takes at least half an hour to clear the fans off the court after the game ends with all of the basketball fanatics, teenagers, little kids, and families rushing to their favorite players to get a quick hello, autograph, or picture.
The Rusty Bucket section, as I have gone over so thoroughly in these pages, are the spice and zest of this league and their bullshit chants and taunts bring a new atmosphere to the game.
If there was ever a buzzer beating, game winning shot, I feel like CIS Arena could be the first place to have court storming in the ABL.
Let’s make it happen next year, CIS Crazies.
Family of the Year
Unanimous Selection, Jones’ Family, Laskar Dreya
The fact that theere is actually no serious contender for this award does not take away the intensity of love that the Jones’ Family show for their boy, Falando Jones, and his team Laskar Dreya. Across the ASEAN Basketball league fan page, you can see the Jones’ Family showing their love and expressing their opinions on the game. They were optimistic throughout each loss the Laskar Dreya team endured pushing them to KEEP ON GOING telling them that THEY WILL WIN THIS GAME. Along the way, it seems that they picked an alliance with the Singapore Slingers and even then they showed love for the Slingers as madly as a true fan.
Of course, it does help their case for this award that they actually read through my whole article and posted it on their Facebook, but still the Mad Love for their son and support for whatever he is going through is so intense, you have to experience it to believe it.
It is characters like the Jones’ Family and the aforementioned Rusty Bucket section that make the ABL as much an entertaining league as you will find in the world, if you get a chance to really soak it all in and I hope that the more I dive myself into this league I will be able to get to know more of these passionate and devoted fans that make up the league as it is.
Most Valuable Player
This award has always been one of many debates in the leagues it has been awarded. It is hard to pinpoint only one individual as an MVP as the qualifications differ from year to year. What defines “most valuable”? Is it the guy who is posting the best statistics throughout the season? Is it the best player on the best team? Is it the leader of the best team?
If only there was some science behind the choosing of the MVP, life would be so much simpler. Alas there isn’t so we have to look into all the factors and see how impressive one’s resume is relatively to the other candidates.
Avery Scharer, Christian Charles, Justin Williams, and Dior Lowhorn. These are they guys that the cream of the crop of this year’s talent pool in the ABL. Each have a case to be made for themselves and it took a while for me to boil it down.
The Indonesia Warriors and Laskar Dreya also had Tremayne Johnson and Falando Jones, respectively, who might have had a say for this award. However, it’s really hard for handing out a Most Valuable Player award to someone who could not lead his team to the playoffs.
Dior Lowhorn led the ABL in scoring, which is impressive since he played for the Singapore Slingers which I could joke about considering scoring as a sin. His 24.5 points per game was almost a full 4 points ahead of second leading scorer Justin Williams who scored 20.73. He accounted for 32.4% of the Slingers scoring when he was available on the roster, leading the league again and a whopping 5.6% more than the second leader, Justin Williams. Dior Lowhorn was also a very efficient scorer boasting one of the best eFG% rates and TrueFG% rates in the league at 54% and 55% respectively. He also pitched in 10 rebounds per game making him one of the only three players along with Chris Charles and Justin Williams to be in the 20-10 group. However, Dior didn’t really handle a big leadership role on this team, with Local MVP Wong Wei Long and ASEAN import veteran Al Vergara doing most of the leading for Slingers. Additionally, Lowhorn might have been a huge presence on offense for the Slingers, but he didn’t stand out defensively for a defensive minded team.
Sure he was valuable for the Slingers, but he didn’t really represent the system that the team played.
Justin Williams has been covered quite a lot already in Part One of these awards and has since then been named the ABL Defensive Player of the Year, so we know how dominant he has been on defense already. Williams was also one of the focal points for a high powered Saigon Heat offense, leading them in scoring as well and being their energizer with his dunks and blocks. Williams looked dominant when he was playing in the post with his long arms, but he was only average in terms of shooting efficiency. Williams took a large amount of long two point shots and took 23 three point shot attempts, which is probably 23 more than he should have took, so that ‘s probably why his efficiency took a dip. As the main inside presence for your team, I feel that you cannot drift out too far to take those kind of shots. Like Lowhorn, Williams put up the numbers and was the main force in their game plans, but it was Froilan Baguion and Dustin Scott who led this team.
Chris Charles was last year’s MVP, so it’s not a surprise that we see him in contention for this year’s award as well. Charles is basically the same player he was last year, and having been able to grow with the same set of core players as last year while adding in championship experience like Jerick Canada and Steve Thomas has really boosted his game up. Charles was covered up to a level in Part One of these awards as well, so let’s take a look at his offense. Charles is fourth leading scorer in the ABL at 20.67 and he also averaged 2.19 assists, which is a very healthy number for a post player. Charles is a very complete two-way player for a very good team.
Yet, the thing holding him back from this award is his team mate, Steven Thomas. Thomas himself was a force on defense and he was a brilliant passer inside. With his experience, Thomas was certainly the leader of this team. So while Charles was very, very valuable to Hi-Tech Bangkok City, in some ways, he might not have even been the most valuable player on his team and that sort of held him back for the next guy on this list.
ahem. Drum roll please..
This year’s pick for Tones & Definitions’ ABL 2014 Most Valuable Player
From Shoreline Community College, at 6-2. Playing Point Guard for the Westports Malaysia Dragons.
As much as I have said about this being a hard choice to make in most situations, this was actually a pretty choice for me. This is not to say that the other candidates played poorly in any way, but Scharer was just THAT good. I have raved about Scharer in the Tones & Definition Facebook Page quite a lot, so if anyone has followed that page, you will have a small idea as to why I am so high on this guy.
I had mentioned once that Scharer plays like Jason Kidd on crack with Swaggy P’s attitude, but in a way, Scharer is crack. His play is so addictive and it gets you so high with his fast paced game, but after a while you get pissed off by how cocky he is as well.
(Side Note: I have nevered try crack, so everyone who has does not have to comment one how being addicted to crack actually feels like. My bad. I should never have brought up crack.)
Scharer leads the league in assist by a considerable margin (7.32 per game, followed by Canada’s 5.18), while also leading the league in Assists per Turnover at 3.16. He scores 15.74 points per game off of drives to the basket that are almost unstoppable. He leads the league in Steals as well at 2.79 per game, again quite a considerable margin over 2nd in line, Froilan Baguion 2.23. He leads all guards with 6.37 rebounds. If you are keeping track of all those numbers thrown at your face, this leaves Scharer as the only player in the ABL that is averaging at least 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. He’s had two triple doubles this season, which accounts for 10.5% of the games he’s played.
I shall leave you in a moment of silence to let you get a grasp of how incredible that is.
Remember that Scharer is playing with a set of 3 guys who are also playing at a high caliber level as well, so it’s not like he has to do everything. Scharer is just doing everything because of the face that he can.
On top of all that, Scharer is the engine that runs this scoring machine that is the Westports Malaysia Dragons that score 90.64 points per game. He is the definite leader being the point guard and one of the older guys on this young team.
His style of play reflects how the Dragons play. Take him out of the equation, and you get a very different team, as seen when his slot was still vacated by Rashawn McCarthy.
Put that all together you get Avery Scharer, the very much well deserved Tones & Definitions’ ABL 2014 Most Valuable Player.
I’d like to thank you for having gone through the season with me in this journey of ABL 2014 and now we are coming to a close. There is one award left to be announced, and that award will be decided in the easiest way possible.
The Best Team of the Year will be decided by the two teams, Hi-Tech Bangkok City going head to head against the Westports Malaysia Dragons in a best of three series.
Game one of the ABL Finals will be played at MABA Stadium on the 8th of November at 3PM +8GMT.
Game two will be played at Thai-Japanese Stadium on the 11th of November at 7PM +7GMT.
If necessary, Game three will be played at MABA Stadium on the 14th of November at a time that will be announced later on.
What can I say? May the Best Team win.