Rhenz Abando gets Gilas Pilipinas invite
MANILA, Philippines—Fresh from an NCAA championship run, Rhenz Abando now stands at the doorstep of an opportunity of a lifetime, receiving an invite to backstop the Gilas Pilipinas program.
An Inquirer insider revealed that the NCAA Most Valuable Player is one of several collegiate standouts being tapped for the National Five’s campaign geared towards two Fiba tournaments this July.
Shortly after losing the gold medal to Indonesia, Gilas coach and program director Chot Reyes said that he intends to use “UAAP, NCAA players who weren’t able play (here in Hanoi)” for the next window of the World Cup Asian Qualifiers in New Zealand and the Asia Cup in Indonesia.
Both Fiba tournaments will run this July, which will coincide with the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations.
A two-way player with a tireless motor, Abando could very well be a shoo-in for Reyes and his envisioned young Gilas crew.
The Letran ace averaged 15.7 points and 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 blocks in the Knights’ successful title defense this season.
In an earlier report, Reyes said that he is also eyeing Carl Tamayo and James Spencer of University of the Philippines, Dave Ildefonso and SJ Belangel of Ateneo, and Japan-bound Justine Baltazar of La Salle for his talent pool.
Also available by then are a bevy of B.League campaigners, namely Thirdy Ravena and Dwight Ramos—both of whom Reyes identified as the program’s cornerstones during the Fiba qualifiers here in Manila earlier this year.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has since said that it plans to bounce back from the debacle that ended the Philippines’ 33-year stranglehold on the SEA Games gold, but it has yet to fully outline how it intends to navigate its immediate future, which is worrying fans of this basketball-crazed nation, especially with 2023 World Cup, which the Philippines is set to cohost, inching closer.