MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino has been hailed the top rookie in the Korean Basketball League.
RJ Abarrientos crowned himself the Rookie of the Year for the 2022-2023 KBL season following an impressive campaign that saw him lead the Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus to the playoffs.
“This brings me a lot of confidence for my career,” said the former FEU standout during his acceptance speech on Thursday, March 30.
“Just love here. Thank you for the love. To the fans, they send me a lot of love, on and off the court.”
Abarrientos averaged 13.6 points, 4.8 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.4 steals in 51 games as Ulsan ended the regular season at fourth place with a 34-20 record to clinch a quarterfinal berth.
He bested fellow Filipino star Rhenz Abando for the coveted award, for which Asian quota imports were eligible to contend.
Abando normed 9 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1 assist in 39 games, helping the Anyang KGC secure the top spot with a 37-17 record as they clinched an outright semifinal berth.
Perhaps the most consistent Filipino in the KBL, Abarrientos scored in double figures in 34 games and breached the 20-point mark in 14 matches.
Abarrientos became the third Mobis Phoebus player in club history to win the award, joining Yang Dong-geun (2004-2005) and Lee Woo-suk (2021-2022). – Rappler.com
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