By REYNALD MAGALLON
Rhenz Abando’s stellar first season with Letran proved to be a huge head-turner.
After a season that saw him won both the Rookie of the Year and NCAA Season 97 MVP plums, the high-leaping forward is set to make another huge jump in his career as he get a much-deserved invite to be part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the upcoming FIBA tournaments in July.
Letran coach Bonnie Tan confirmed that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has formally reached out to the Knights management to ask for Abando’s availability.
Abando’s national team call up was also a long time coming according to Tan, revealing that Gilas has also invited the 6-foot-2 wingman in the past but didn’t push through due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Yes. Actually since pandemic pa may times na nainvite na siya pero nagkaroon lang kaunting miscommunication so this is the second time na nainvite si Rhenz,” said Tan.
Abando was a vital cog in steering Letran to its first back-to-back titles in 23 years averaging 15.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1,7 assists and 1.3 blocks in his first year. His performance has also attracted interest from overseas teams to which Tan also confirmed.
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes earlier revealed that he’s looking at collegiate standouts to make up the national team for the next window of the World Cup Asian Qualifiers and the Asia Cup next month.
Among those seen to join Abando is Ateneo star SJ Belangel and Dave Ildefonso and UP standouts Carl Tamayo and James Spencer.