East Asia Super League

A late scratch, Rhenz Abando not ready for comeback

Philip Matel

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A late scratch, Rhenz Abando not ready for comeback

STILL PUSHING. Anyang's Rhenz Abando in the EASL Final Four.


Rhenz Abando admits he’s still feeling the pain from a back injury, opting to sit out as his Korean team Anyang bags the bronze in the East Asia Super League

CEBU, Philippines – After pushing through pain in the East Asia Super League (EASL) Final Four, Rhenz Abando admitted he isn’t quite ready yet to play.

Abando was a late scratch in the Anyang Kwan Jang Red Boosters’ 78-76 win to take home the bronze medal against the New Taipei Kings on Sunday, March 10, at the Hoops Dome here.

The Filipino swingman said he’s still bothered by back pains from the spinal injury he suffered last December, adding he’s also uncertain of his return for the remainder of the Korean Basketball League (KBL) season.

“I think my body wasn’t ready during the first game (last Friday). I told the team that I was experiencing difficulties… it triggered my back pain,” Abando told reporters after the game.

“It got painful. I told the team I could not play even though I was lined up.”

In Friday’s knockout semifinal, Abando played 21 minutes and tallied 11 points in Anyang’s 94-79 loss to KBL rival Seoul SK Knights.

Abando and Anyang will fly back to Seoul on Monday, March 11, with the team set to play the remainder of its campaign starting March 13.

Currently, the KBL defending champions are out of playoff contention, sitting ninth out of 10 teams with a 14-31 record, and about 10 games to play.

Abando, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, said he is not yet thinking about his next professional move, although there is a huge chance he’ll return to Anyang.

The former NCAA MVP is also not discounting a return to Gilas Pilipinas under new head coach Tim Cone if he is pain free.

“Why not? As long as I’m healthy,” said Abando.

“Both coach Chot (Reyes) and Tim are okay, it was just that more deserving players got the minutes over me,” Abando said of his 2023 FIBA World Cup experience.

“I actually had so many lapses during practice.” 

During his five Gilas appearances in the global basketball competition, he averaged 5.2 points and 2.2 rebounds, including a 14-point performance in the Philippines’ lone win at the expense of China. – Rappler.com

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