Tuesday afternoon was supposed to be just an introduction of what lies ahead for the ASEAN Basketball League. However, it also turned out to be a celebration of one of the league’s best from the past.
Avenido, who won the league’s Most Valuable Player award with the San Miguel Beermen back in 2012, was the recipient of the ABL’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Talagang matanda na eh, ano?,” quipped Avenido, who was the playing coach for the Gamboa Coffee Mixers during the PBA D-League Foundation Cup, “Siyempre thankful tsaka grateful ako sa ABL na nabigyan ako ng chance na ganyan. Sa six, seven seasons [na nilaro ko], ibang achievement na yun sa akin.
“May MVP na, may championship pa. Kumpleto na rin.”
Ever since his days with the FEU Tamaraws, Avenido has always been in the limelight of the local basketball scene. Though he had numerous stints in the PBA, his time in the regional pro league was the best part of his career.
“Sa atin, PBA talaga dream ng kabataan natin. Pero yung ABL yun talaga nag-mold sa akin,” he said. “Siyempre overseas, mahirap, import ka dun, wala yung pamilya mo. Talagang medyo nakapag-focus ako ng maganda sa ABL.”
And the most memorable part of his ABL heydays was, of course, his golden 2012 campaign.
“Kaya naglaro ako sa ABL para makakuha ng championship bago matapos [career ko]. Hindi lang kumita, hindi lang para maging import,” said Avenido, who debuted in the ABL with the Brunei Barracudas, “Siyempre, goal pa rin yun.”
He may be nearing 40 years of age, but that does not mean that the eagerness to play has dwindled. Avenido made it known that he still wants to sniff the court, but he is open also to the possibility of not being able to do so.
“Siyempre gusto ko pa rin maglaro kung papayagan,” bared Avenido, who bared that he tried out for Indonesian club team CLS Knights.
“Kung hindi na, siguro ipa-pass ko na yung torch sa mga young guys natin.”