By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Another Filipino just signed to the Korean Basketball League (KBL).
After making his debut with the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team, Rhenz Abando decided to test the waters overseas, foregoing his final playing year with the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights to join the Anyang KGC basketball club in the KBL.
The reigning NCAA Rookie Most Valuable Player (MVP) became the sixth Filipino to sign in the KBL, following the footsteps of SJ Belangel, RJ Abarrientos, Justin Gutang, Ethan Alvano, and William Navarro.
KBL scouts immediately turned their heads to Abando after an outstanding outing during the 2022 KB Kookmin Bank Invitational where Gilas Pilipinas participated.
Abando was quick to assert his presence with the national team after averaging 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, and 1.0 assists during their two-game encounter against Ricardo Ratliffe and Korea.
Aside from his KB Kookmin stint, the high-flying swingman was also with Gilas during the third window of the World Cup Qualifiers where he showcased his versatility under the mentorship of head coach Nenad Vucinic.
Despite a disappointing finish in the FIBA Asia Cup weeks after their World Cup Qualifiers, Abando continued to perform for the national team and put up consistent performances against Lebanon and India.
Abando will be seeking to help Anyang go further with their post-season push after qualifying in the semifinals last KBL season.
Up to this date, the Anyang basketball operations is yet to confirm Abando’s contract details but will join the five other Filipinos as an Asian import.