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Rhenz Abando looks to turn into a ‘complete player’ in Gilas

Rhenz Abando is a talent. No one can deny that.

During his one-year stint with University of Santo Tomas, the 6-foot-2 winger showed great potential.

In Colegio de San Juan de Letran, the son of Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan showed that he can dominate.

But if there’s a knack in the reigning NCAA Seniors Basketball Most Valuable Player’s game, it has got to be his defense. Abando knows that he gets blown by smaller players and gets outmuscled by bigger foes.

At the collegiate level, he makes up for it with his sheer athleticism. But he knows it won’t be enough especially if he gets lined up by Gilas Men against New Zealand and India later this month.

“Ang natutunan ko kay Coach Nenad [Vucinic], lagi niyang sinasabi na hindi pwedeng one-dimensional player ka lang, kailangan maging complete player ka.

“Tapos kailangan mong maging aggressive on both offense and defense. Para sa akin, sinabihan ako ni coach, okay naman yung offense pero yung sa defense, isa ako sa mga pinakamabagal sa depensa sa team,” he admitted.

Only Abando and Allen Liwag are the NCAA players in the 16-man pool of Gilas.

Elite teenagers Lebron Lopez and Caelum Harris are the youngest in the pool. The rest are the cream of the UAAP, including Angelo Kouame, Carl Tamayo, Ricci Rivero, SJ Belangel, Geo Chiu, RJ Abarrientos, Sherwin Concepcion, Kevin Quiambao, and Ricci Rivero.

And then, of course, there’s the three ‘kuyas’ of the team, Thirdy Ravena, Dwight Ramos, and William Navarro.

Against them, Abando admitted that he lags behind those guys.UAAP-82-MBB-Finals-G2-ADMU-vs.-UST-Abando-4440 Rhenz Abando looks to turn into a 'complete player' in Gilas Basketball CSJL Gilas Pilipinas NCAA News  - philippine sports news

“Pag nagpapractice kami, isa ako sa pinaka mabagal.

“Dapat pa magpractice at mag-work hard sa depensa,” he realized. “Yun nga, sinabihan niya ako last practice na dapat maging complete player ka, ‘di pwede yung one-sided lang.”

With a deep pool of wingers, Abando knows that he is not a shoo-in for the final 12. But whatever happens, he will relish every experience and learning he gets from the national team.

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“Sobrang gustong gusto ko ito kasi napasama pa lang sa pool, grabe na ‘yung kumpyansa mo e,” admitted the Gilas neophyte.

“Paano pa kaya kung nakapunta ka sa Gilas at ma-represent ‘yung bansa natin?”

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