Three Filipinos played on the final day of the 2023 East Asia Super League Champions Week in Okinawa on Sunday.
But it was Rhenz Abando who stole the show after helping Anyang KGC take bragging right and a cool $250,000 in beating fellow KBL team Seoul SK, 90-84, in the final.
Abando pumped 11 points, the majority of which came in the second quarter which helped KGC take control of the game for good.
Leading the charge for Anyang were Daryl Monroe and Omari Spellman with the former tallying 21 points and 16 rebounds while the latter added 19 points and 11 boards. Spellman was named the tournament MVP.
The victory marked Abando’s first championship outside of the Philippines and a major milestone in his professional career. He had previously won the NCAA crown with Letran in NCAA Season 98 where he was also named MVP before signing as a pro.
Kim Sunhyung led the defending KBL champs with 25 points while Jameel Warney added 22 points. The Knights will still bank $100,000 for their second-place finish.
Meanwhile, another Philippine basketball talent, Sedrick Barefield, also made waves to close out the week as he helped Bay Area secure third place in the competition.
Bay Area’s imports, Myles Powell and Andrew Nicholson, teamed up with Barefield to dominate Japan B.League side Ryukyu Golden Kings in a 90-70 win.
Powell led the team with 29 points, while Nicholson added 18 points and eight rebounds.
Barefield also contributed 17 points and six rebounds to help the Dragons clinch third place and a cash prize of US$50,000.
Ryukyu’s Filipino import Carl Tamayo only played 10 minutes in the contest, finishing with two points.
Allen Durham had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Golden Kings.
As the dust settled in Okinawa, TNT and San Miguel finished in seventh and last place. P.League+’s Taipei Fubon was sixth due to a superior quotient over the two PBA squads. Utsunomiya placed fifth.