Rhenz Abando says collegiate play propelled him to successful overseas pro stint
MANILA, Philippines—Before he was a Korean Basketball League champion with Anyang KGC, Rhenz Abando was first and foremost a collegiate basketball stalwart.
So it was only fitting that his exploits in the NCAA Season 97 men’s basketball tournament for Letran were recognized in the Collegiate Press Corps Awards Night with the 2021-22 Collegiate Basketball Player of the Year award.
“Playing in the collegiate level was such a big help for me because without it I wouldn’t be known or will be able to play abroad,” said the NCAA Season 97 Rookie-MVP in Filipino at Hummingbird Rooftop, Quezon City, on Monday evening.
Abando made his name in the collegiate scene as early as 2019 before he was even a member of the Knights, playing for University of Santo Tomas in UAAP Season 82. Joining him in that year’s Mythical Five are Jeo Ambohot, Ateneo’s Kouame, and UP duo Carl Tamayo and Malick Diouf.
Ateneo’s Ange Kouame also received the award from the Collegiate Press Corps for his showing in the 2022-23 UAAP season.
Kouame joined UP’s Diouf, Benilde’s Will Gozum, Letran’s Louie Sangalang and Adamson’s Jerom Lastimosa in the cast of the 2022-23 mythical team.
Thirdy Ravena, who is also currently playing in the pros over at Japan B.League with the San-En Neophoenix, was awarded the 2019-2020 installment of the award presented by San Miguel Corp.
“It means a lot to me because this time, four years ago, was really the time that shaped me both on and off the court and made me a better person,” said Ravena via video message.
Ravena headlined the 2019-2020 Mythical Five team consisting of UST’s Soulemane Chabi Yo, San Beda’s Calvin Oftana, and the Letran pair of Fran Yu and Jerrick Balanza.
Former Letran tactician Bonnie Tan copped three straight NCAA Coach of the Year awards from 2019-2023 while Ateneo’s Tab Baldwin won two out of the three UAAP Coach of the Year awards (2019-20 and 2022-23).
UP’s Goldwin Monteverde was hailed as the UAAP’s best mentor for 2021-22, presented by Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Appliances and Handyman.
On the volleyball side of things, Bella Belen of NU and Mycah Go of Benilde co-won the 2021-22 Collegiate Volleyball Player of the Year presented by Philippine Sports Commission.
Meanwhile, 2022-23 was all Green and White in the taraflex as Lady Blazer Gayle Pascual and Lady Spiker Angel Canino were hailed as the best collegiate players in their own respective leagues.
The CPC Awards Night, which was sidelined for three years due to the pandemic, was powered back to the scene by minor sponsors MNL Kingpin, Tinapayan Festival, Jockey and World Balance.