MANILA, Philippines – Just as University of Santo Tomas has surprised the UAAP with a share of the league-lead with Ateneo, Rhenz Abando has surprised everybody with the immediate impact he has delivered all the way from La Union.
The first-year forward has risen to the occasion for the Growling Tigers, leading them in their opening win against University of the East and bringing big-time contributions in their rout of University of the Philippines.
In making sure his league debut was one for the books, Abando claimed the season’s first Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps UAAP Player of the Week award.
The transferee from Philippine College of Science and Technology in Pangasinan announced his arrival with a 22-point output, including 5 triples, in UST’s 95-82 victory over the Red Warriors last Wednesday, September 4.
Coach Aldin Ayo – a proud coach from the same province as well – had nothing but praise for Abando who, himself had to go from La Union to Pangasinan before getting the shot to shine in Manila.
“Ngayon, grateful ako na nangyayari yung ganito sa UST kasi si Rhenz, he’s very talented, pero alam din niya kung anong kulang niya at dapat trabahuin niya,” said Ayo.
“Si Rhenz, breadwinner ‘to eh so when you have that player, ‘di mo kailangan i-motivate ‘yan. They’re playing for their families and their community.”
(I’m grateful that UST is blessed with this situation because Rhenz is very talented, but he also knows what he has to work on. Rhenz is a breadwinner, so when you have a player like him, you don’t have to motivate him. They’re playing for their families and their community.)
Three days later, the Growling Tigers then sent a statement by taking some shine off the fancied Fighting Maroons, 85-69, where the 6-foot-2 forward provided a boost off the bench with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.
In all, Abando normed 17.0 points, 5.5 boards, and 2.5 dimes in his first two outings in the UAAP – leaving no doubt as to why he was the unanimous choice by media from print and online covering the beat.
UST’s rising star beat out teammate Soulemane Chabi Yo, the Ateneo pair of Mike Nieto and Gian Mamuyac, Adamson’s Lenda Douanga, and FEU’s L-Jay Gonzales for the weekly honor. – Rappler.com