MANILA, Philippines – NCAA MVP Rhenz Abando will get a baptism of fire in the professional basketball circuit as he is set to battle former NBA forward Thomas Robinson at the Anyang KGC-San Miguel kickoff match of the 2022-2023 East Asia Super League (EASL) season this October 12.
A league release confirmed that the Beermen have tapped the fifth overall pick of the 2012 NBA draft for their EASL campaign, and most likely for their PBA Commissioners’ Cup run as well.
Picked one spot ahead of superstar guard Damian Lillard, Robinson had an underwhelming run in the NBA where he only averaged 4.9 points and 4.8 rebounds in 13.4 minutes spread across 312 career games.
However, the 6-foot-10 big man found way more success overseas – most recently in Puerto Rico’s top pro league, where he averaged a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds from 2020 to 2022.
Meanwhile, Anyang will finally see what their prized Filipino import is really made of in its first game in Group A to start the regional league, filled by eight representatives from different countries which have either won their mother league championship or were title runners-up.
Abando is coming off a stellar one-and-done year with Letran where he averaged 15.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.3 blocks, and helped the Knights to a 12-0 NCAA Season 97 sweep for back-to-back titles.
PBA Philippine Cup second-placer TNT Tropang Giga will also represent the Philippines in the EASL and will also have its first game on October 12 against the Bay Area Dragons, which are tearing up PBA teams left and right in preparation for their Commissioners’ Cup debut.
Other EASL teams include the Taiwan P. League+ champion Taipei Fubon Braves and Japan B. League runner-up Ryukyu Golden Kings in Group A, and Korean Basketball League (KBL) titlist Seoul SK Knights and B. League champion Utsunomiya Brex in Group B.
Apart from Abando and Filipinos from San Miguel and TNT, 40-year-old veteran Jay Washington is also a part of the EASL’s Pinoy contingent as Ryukyu’s new Asian Quota import. – Rappler.com