RJ Abarrientos declares for PBA Rookie Draft

RJ Abarrientos will be embarking on a new hoops journey after declaring for the PBA Draft (Japan B. League)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Sensational guard RJ Abarrientos’ stint in the international basketball scene has ended as he submits his intent to apply for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

Abarrientos, who previously played as an Asian import in the Korean Basketball League (KBL) and the Japan B. League, aims to cement his legacy in the country’s premier hoops league.

The former Far Eastern University (FEU) floor general hopes to hear his name called on July 14, 2024, when the PBA Rookie Draft takes place.

Already a veteran despite his age, thanks to his numerous Gilas Pilipinas stints and experiences in Japan and Korea, Abarrientos will likely enter the lottery pick pool due to his value and talent.

He was a vital member of the Gilas Pilipinas squad that swept Korea during the FIBA Asia Qualifiers a few years ago.

Besides that memorable campaign, Abarrientos was also part of the official Gilas roster that nearly upset the talented Serbian national team in the last edition of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).

Abarrientos began his overseas pro journey in Korea, where he won the 2022-2023 KBL Rookie of the Year on March 30, 2023.

The former Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team point guard boosted his chances of winning the prestigious award after helping the Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus clinch a playoff qualification.

Abarrientos made an immediate impact on Ulsan despite playing as a young rookie floor general, averaging 13.6 points, 4.8 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.4 steals during his 51-game stretch with the KBL club.

However, he decided to part ways with Ulsan and brought his talent to Japan, signing a contract with the Shinshu basketball club.

Abarrientos only had a brief stint in Japan and is now back in the Philippines after receiving a call-up from the Strong Group Philippines for the upcoming 43rd William Jones Cup.


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