Asian basketball

Rhenz Abando ready for EASL playoffs after winning KBL injury return

Philip Matel

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Rhenz Abando ready for EASL playoffs after winning KBL injury return

KEY COG. Anyang's Rhenz Abando goes for a shot against Goyang in KBL action.

Anyang Jung Kwan Jang

Rhenz Abando picks up right where he left off, even winning Player of the Game honors in his first game back in Korea since suffering a gruesome injury last December

MANILA, Philippines — Rhenz Abando will not be a mere spectator in the East Asia Super League (EASL) Final Four to be held in Cebu this weekend after getting the green light to play.

The high-flying Abando will suit up for the Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters in the continental league after a successful return on Sunday, March 3, in the Korean Basketball League.

In his first game back since suffering a spinal injury last December, Abando powered his way to 17 points in 28 minutes, on top of 4 rebounds and 3 assists in Anyang’s 92-87 win against Goyang Sono.

The former NCAA Most Valuable Player, however, said his injury recovery is around “85-90 percent,” admitting to still feeling pain when bending his body.

Abando’s game was well-attended by Filipino fans in South Korea, including Philippine ambassador Maria Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega.

“The support of the Filipino fans is a great help. The embassy people came, so I think I’m even happier that we won the game,” Abando, who was named Player of the Game, said after the contest.

“I am happy that I was able to win on my comeback match. The team still has some room to improve, but I am happy that we won,” he added.

Abando’s return was coincidentally with the same team he played against when he suffered the gruesome injury.

Chinanu Onuaku collided with Abando while he was in mid-air, leading to an awkward fall for the Filipino.

He and Onuaku met before the game, with the latter apologizing for the mishap, per Abando.

The EASL Final Four, set to be held at the Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City, will feature Anyang against rival Seoul SK Knights in the semifinals on March 8, 5 pm.

The winner of that matchup will face off with the victor of the Chiba Jets-New Taipei Kings tussle in the second semifinal game at 8 pm.

The gold- and bronze-medal matches will be on Sunday, March 10, at the same venue. —

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