Korean basketball

Debuting Abarrientos keys Ulsan to KBL win, Abando misses Anyang season opener

Delfin Dioquino
Debuting Abarrientos keys Ulsan to KBL win, Abando misses Anyang season opener

TRIUMPHANT DEBUT. RJ Abarrientos and the Mobis Phoebus open the KBL season on the right foot.

Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus Facebook page

RJ Abarrientos impresses across the board and helps the Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus beat the Suwon KT Sonicboom

MANILA, Philippines – RJ Abarrientos turned heads in his Korean Basketball League debut as the Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus held off the Suwon KT Sonicboom in an 85-76 road win on Saturday, October 15.

The Gilas Pilipinas guard impressed across the board with 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists to help the Mobis Phoebus exact revenge on the Sonicboom.

Suwon hacked out a 74-72 victory over Ulsan in the finale of the KBL Cup preseason tournament exactly a week ago.

But Abarrientos and the Mobis Phoebus got the last laugh this time as they fended off a late comeback from the Sonicboom, who narrowed the gap to 7 points with two minutes left after trailing by as many as 16 points.

Yang Hong-seok drained a triple and Choi Seong-mo scored a layup off a steal in successive possessions to cut the Suwon deficit to 76-83, but Ham Ji-hoon sealed the Ulsan triumph with a pair of free throws.

“I’m just going with the flow, listening to the coaches what they want me to do,” said Abarrientos.

American import Gaige Prim led Mobis Phoebus with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 steals, while Jang Jae-sok added 12 points.

EJ Anosike put up 20 points and 9 rebounds in the loss.

Meanwhile, Rhenz Abando missed the season opener of the Anyang KGC as it thwarted the Seoul SK Knights in an 88-75 victory.

Abando, a former NCAA MVP, sat out due to a reported hip soreness.

Former NBA player Omari Spellman powered Anyang to a triumphant season debut with a double-double of 27 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 assists.

In the final game of the day, Filipino-American guard Ethan Alvano saw his double-double go down the drain as Wonju DB Promy absorbed an 87-80 loss to the Goyang Carrot Jumpers.

Alvano delivered 18 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 steal in the loss, with Wonju falling short of its second-half comeback from a 27-point hole. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.