Rhenz was so engrossed in winning the NCAA Season 97 Men’s Basketball title for Abando Letran that he won Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the same time as a bonus.
The 6-foot-2, spring-loaded forward has finally gone out of his way after picking a hand-down for both awards, and Abando will certainly be more motivated to help seal what he initially decided to do. That season when the Knights battled the Mapua Cardinals in their 2nd game of the title showdown on Sunday.
“My priority is to win the championship, because I don’t want to be bridesmaid anymore,” said Abando, who moved to Latron a year after playing for Santo Thomas University, who lost to Atenio in the UAAP final. In 2019.
“Winning MVP is just a bonus, but I’m still grateful for the blessings,” added Abando after averaging 15.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 blocks despite coming off the bench most of the time.
In addition to the MVP trophy, the best rookie of the year will also be selected at the awards ceremony before the Knights-Cardinals Championship clash at the Abando Philoil Flying V Center.
Abando, who came from Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan, discontinued the Rookie-MVP credit in 2015 after performing Mapua’s Allwell Oraeme strategy. San Bedar Sam Aquay achieved this feat in 2006 and Gabby Espinas of the Christian University of the Philippines won it in 2004.
The 24-year-old Abando will lead the Mythical Five, which includes teammate Geo Ambohot, Arelano big man Justin Arana, San Sebastian power forward JM Kalma and St. Benil’s Will Gozum.
The third overall pick of the draft was Ambohot, averaging 10.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while Arna, the fourth overall pick, had 17.1 rebounds, 14.7 points, 2.7 blocks and 1.4 assists.
Kalma, the highest scorer of the season, averaged 16.8 points and 10.3 rebounds in 11 games overall.
Unbeaten in 11 games, the Knights are looking to sweep their best three series with the Cardinals in a narrow margin of 68-63 in the opening match of last Sunday’s final. INQ
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