OKINAWA, JAPAN—Anyang KGC made San Miguel Beer look a disjointed bunch in a 55-point rout of the reigning Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup champions in the East Asia Super League on Saturday night here and Rhenz Abando, a Filipino playing as an import for the South Korean side, earned a personal win in the blowout.
The Beermen weren’t a threat in a 142-87 thrashing absorbed at Okinawa Arena, but Abando conceded that he had a hard time dealing with some San Miguel standouts individually—particularly CJ Perez.
Perez had 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists and was the best local for the Beermen in all of their two lopsided losses.
Guarding Perez gave Abando a new experience to learn from as he still tries to grapple with the rigors of living in South Korea while playing as an Asian import.
“I actually committed all of my three fouls on him,” the former Letran ace told reporters in a mix of Filipino and English. “The only thing I can say is that it’s really different going up against a pro who’s been playing for a while. They are just smarter, much more talented. And they know how and when to use their bodies.”
Despite struggling defensively, Abando shone on the other end with 22 points on nine-for-15 shooting from the field.
“Also, they really know how to be efficient on the court. You saw that in him (Perez), he was leading [San Miguel] in the game,” he continued.
A lot more to give
Abando said that he will take all of those lessons like a sponge as he tries to blossom into a star in South Korea.
“I’ve not yet adjusted to the game style,” he shared. “I still can’t go with the team’s flow, especially on defense. So I wouldn’t say I’ve [adapted].”
He insists that he is still not at his best, but Abando continues to draw attention with his play for the current leaders of the Korean Basketball League (KBL).
In one of the Inquirer’s chats with South Korean reporters covering the Champions Week, one said “Abando good.” Earlier in the tournament, Anyang’s very own coach Kim Sang-shik continues to pin his squad’s hopes on the Filipino from Santo Tomas, La Union.
“He’s been doing a great job scoring the ball and getting rebounds [with his] strength,” he said with the help of a translator. “He’ll get better, too.”
Perez, who also grew up in Northern Luzon, is just as excited for Abando’s future.
“I’m proud of how he has turned out,” the San Miguel guard said. “I just hope that he can sustain his play in Korea. As a fellow Ilocano, I’m thrilled to see him playing at a high level.”
“Very,” he said when asked how skilled Abando is. INQ
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