East Asia Super League

Rhenz Abando still hurting but targets EASL Final Four stint

Philip Matel

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Rhenz Abando still hurting but targets EASL Final Four stint

TOP GUN. Rhenz Abando (right) celebrates with his Anyang teammate in the Korean Basketball League.


After landing awkwardly again in his first game back from injury, Rhenz Abando hopes he can suit up for his Korean team Anyang in the East Asia Super League playoffs in Cebu

CEBU, Philippines — The high-flying Rhenz Abando hit a snag in his recovery from a spinal injury after feeling some discomfort following his Korean Basketball League game last March 3.

Abando, who played his first game since suffering the injury in December, said he hit the floor hard during their 92-87 win against Goyang Sono.

“When I played in the Goyang game, I did not feel any pain until somebody challenged me once again mid-air, and fell down awkwardly,” Abando told Manila-based reporters during the East Asia Super League (EASL) Final Four press conference at Mactan City here on Thursday, March 7.

“I fell hard, and I’m enduring the pain, my back hurts again,” he added.

The former NCAA Most Valuable Player racked 17 points, added 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 28 minutes of action, enough to be accorded Player of the Game honors in the matchup.

Abando made his first-ever visit to the Queen City of the South after getting medical clearance to play in the EASL Final Four. 

But Anyang coach Kim Sang-shik said the team would rather wait and see if Abando would feel comfortable enough to play.

Anyang will figure in a KBL finals rematch against rivals Seoul SK Knights in the first game of the doubleheader on Friday, March 8, 5 pm, at the Hoops Dome in Lapu Lapu City.

The winner of the matchup will face the victor of the Chiba Jets-New Taipei Kings semis game in the championship match on Sunday, March 10, at the same venue.

Road to recovery

Abando shared his recovery period from the injury resulting from a collision with Goyang ’s Chinanu Onukaku in a game last December. 

Suffering what he described as a painful fall, Abando felt relieved that he still felt his extremities then — usually a clearance from traumatic spinal injuries.

Abando recalled how his coach allowed him to stay in the Philippines for 10 more days after Anyang faced off against the TNT Tropang Giga in an EASL elimination game, allowing him to recalibrate his mind and body for therapy.

Therapy, according to Abando, focused on strengthening his core and back, as well as easing into conditioning to get into game shape anew.

“It was more of walking briskly since it was painful — I needed to contract my core (to relieve myself of pain,)” said Abando.

“I actually don’t know if I returned too soon, but because of my willingness to play and help the team, I decided to push through.” — Rappler.com

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