Chot Reyes has no doubt that Gilas pool member Rhenz Abando is a gifted player, who has “a lot of upside and potential” which could be beneficial for the national team in the long run.
Abando, the youngest player in the national pool currently training in Europe, has impressed Reyes with his ability to score against tall defenders.
“The potential of Rhenz, and his upside is tremendous. He only needs to be able to defend better be able to understand our offense as well,” Reyes told One Sports' Carlo Pamintuan.
Abando, the former NCAA men's basketball Most Valuable Player, is coming off a successful overseas stint that saw him play a big role in Anyang KGC's championship recent in the Korean Basketball League.
His athleticism also enabled him to win the KBL Slam Dunk.
Competition last February.
“When he gets open, and he gets the opportunity, he's a scorer, a very explosive scorer,” noted the 59-year-old Reyes.
The former Letran star said being in the national team opened his eyes to the reality of how much he still needs to improve on his game.
“Since I was a kid, I just play wherever I go (in the province). And when I was in college in Pangasinan, I just kept playing, too under coach Chris Calaguio so somehow, I got the advantage compared to other players in the province,” shared Abando in Filipino in a separate interview with Pamintuan.
The 6-foot-2 Abando, who once played under Calaguio at the Philippine College of Science of Technology in Pangasinan, added that being part of the Gilas is another one of those “unexpected” experiences he has in his young basketball career.
And he believes his recent journey in Korea gave him the drive to push his game to the next level amid the challenges.
“I told my (Anyang) teammates whatever happens, let's get it (KBL championship) and it's something you can share to your future kids and grandkids that we played together and won the championship,” added Abando, who also won the 2023 KBL 3×3 crown.
Abando, who averaged 8.2 points and 2.7 rebounds for Anyang this past season, made his Gilas debut in the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup.
Other than Letran and Philippine College of Science and Technology, Abando also played for the University of Santo Tomas under then, NCAA and UAAP men's basketball champion coach Aldin Ayo, before eventually moving to play for Letran.
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