MANILA – University of Santo Tomas (UST) newcomer Rhenz Abado did not disappoint head coach Aldin Ayo in his debut game in the UAAP Season 82 after lifting the Growling Tigers in an impressive against the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors on Wednesday.
Ayo had nothing but praise for his recruit from Pangasinan, noting that Abado really wanted to play under his tutelage. Abando topscored for UST with 22 markers, 15 of which came in the pivotal first-half run.
The Tigers went on to win their first game, 95-82, over the Red Warriors.
“Itong batang ito, parang nilagay niya sa dibdib niya na kay Coach Aldin ako maglalaro,” Ayo revealed.
For the La Union native, fate made this possible. “Di ko rin alam eh. Pinagtagpo siguro,” the lanky forward said.
The UAAP champion coach said he first saw the potential of Abado in Pangasinan through his former teammate in Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Christian Calaguio.
While noting his new player's talent, he also reminded Abado that they still have to work on his lapses and shortcomings.
“Kung nakikita niyo ang laro ni Rhenz, he's very talented pero alam niya kung anong kulang niya at dapat trabahuhin niya,” Ayo quipped.
Ayo also praised his player’s attitude on and off the court, saying he sees similarities between him and Abando since they are both “probinsyanos.” According to him, they both feel homesick at times.
“Parehas kami ng background, naho-homesick sa pamilya namin at wala kaming ibang sasandalan kung kami lang. Anytime na kailangan ng kasama, makaka-relate ka. Karamihan ng players ko, probinsyano. We have that kind of bond,” Ayo explained.
Aside from skills and athleticism, Abando is also motivated as he hopes to help his family in La Union through basketball.
“Si Rhenz, breadwinner 'to eh. So when you have that player, 'di mo kailangan i-motivate 'yan. They're playing for their families and their community. Athleticism, 'yung skillset okay na pero na-develop niya 'yun sa one year niya sa UST,” the coach added.
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