Rhenz Abando was having a spectacular NCAA Seniors Basketball Finals debut on Sunday.
However, disaster struck the 6-foot-2 high-flyer.
Abando had just done a highlight putback jam with 3:25 left in the third frame that cut Mapua’s lead against Letran down to 45-47. However, he landed badly on his left ankle that forced him out of the game.
“Kanina, sobrang masakit talaga. Hindi ko kinaya kaya nagdasal ako na mag-step up yung iba,” recalled Abando, who had already tallied 13 points and seven rebounds before going down with the injury.
Fortunately for the Knights, the likes of Louie Sangalang, Fran Yu, King Caralipio, Brent Paraiso, and Jeo Ambohot stepped up, drilling the big shots, grabbing the tough rebounds, and making the hustle plays to lift Letran to a come-from-behind 68-63 Game One win.
And during the last 10 minutes of the contest, Abando was on the edge of his seat, cheering and praying for his team.
“Kanina nalungkot ako kasi kailangan na kailangan ako tapos may nangyari pa sa akin na ganito,” he continued.
“So far, wala pa naman pero sana hindi serious at makabalik ako sa Game Two.”
Relieved is Abando that Game Two is still a week away.
And starting on Monday, he is looking to get ready for it.
“At least may one week pa kami na preparation,” said the soon-to-be-crowned Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player.