After EASL success, Abando goes after title that matters most
Rhenz Abando is grateful to be a part of Anyang KGC’s golden run in the East Asia Super League’s (EASL) Champions Week, but the high-flying Filipino is focused on the championship that matters.
“What a way to experience [all this],” he told reporters in Filipino on the heels of a 90-84 win over Korean No. 1 Seoul SK Knights at Okinawa Arena. “But our main goal, really, is the one in the KBL (Korean Basketball League).”
Abando revealed that Anyang’s flight was scheduled on March 5, the day of the EASL’s finalé, but the team’s management had to bump it off after a perfect group phase run that earned them a slot in the you-or-me clash against the SK Knights.
“Actually, we’re not that focused here. We were supposed to fly today. We did not expect to reach the Final. We’re happy, though. But we didn’t celebrate that much because we know that the main goal is the one in the KBL,” he said.
Abando, playing out of Letran, is plying his trade in Korea and serving Anyang as its Asian import. He has been garnering rave reviews from Korean fans on social media. His coach, Kim Sang-shik, and a Korean scribe covering KBL teams in the Champions Week also heaped praises on the lanky guard, who has helped the club to a season-best 34-12 mark.
The KBL season is entering its homestretch, and Abando knows that Seoul, being the defending champions, can still move up the standings and shake up the race. And even current No. 2 Changwon LG Sakers can be just as disruptive with a 30-15 record and a handful of games to spare.
“There’s still a lot that could happen. SK is trying to catch up. LG has a great chance to take No. 1. We have to maintain our play and do even better,” he pointed out.
Abando is not beyond patching up holes in his game, too.
“I had plenty of lapses—on defense, on boxing out. Our possessions, too. [The Knights] were able to [catch us off-guard] that’s why I can’t say that I had a good performance,” he said.
Still, Abando said that the five-day showcase pitting the finest pro teams across the Philippines, Japan, South Korea and Chinese-Taipei, will be beneficial in the long haul. INQ