Rhenz Abando impresses in Anyang rout of San Miguel
OKINAWA — Rhenz Abando was a thorn in the Filipinos’ side in Anyang’s 55-point blowout of San Miguel Beer on Saturday in the EASL Champions Week here.
The former Letran ace finished with 22 points built on a 9-for-15 shooting in the 142-87 dismantling of the PBA Philippine Cup champions at Okinawa Arena.
Abando figured prominently in the blistering first quarter run that had the vaunted Beermen gasping for answers early.
So decisive that even CJ Perez had to tip his hat to the young forward.
“I’m proud of how he showed out,” the San Miguel guard said in a mix of English and Filipino. “I just hope that he can sustain his play in Korea. As a fellow Ilocano, I’m thrilled to see him playing at a high level.”
“Super,” he added when asked how skilled Abando was.
While his numbers were impressive, Abando shared that he was actually jittery going into the contest.
The high-leaping import said he has been dealing with the rigors of being overseas and an undisclosed injury that kept him from playing to the best of his abilities.
“Pressure, because I’ve yet to get to 100 percent conditioning,” he told reporters. “I was thinking that I may not be able to perform properly.”
“Even if the KBL’s league is long, once you sustain an injury, you’ll have a hard time getting back. It’s tough regaining your confidence and it’s tough to match the momentum of the team once you miss games.”
Abando said that a pep talk from Anyang’s captain and coach spurred him to splay splendidly in the victory that had the Korean club zooming to the top of Group B with a high chance of figuring in the winner-take-all set this Sunday.
“To be honest, I told my coaches and my teammates that I’m nervous. But the captain told us that we’re a team and that they’re with me,” he said.
“That was really key—the head coach talked to me yesterday, telling me to just play and that he trusts me. I think that’s why I played well today.”