MANILA, Philippines — Rhenz Abando had mixed emotions Saturday night.
He was happy that Gilas Pilipinas had finally won a match at the Fiba World Cup 2023 – that he had a great outing was a welcome bonus. But he also felt a pang of regret that the team hadn’t played so well in their first four games.
“I’m very happy but I wish we had played this way in previous games. We had faith in our teammates and the coach always tells us to lean on each other,” Abando told reporters.
Abando emerged as the top homegrown player with 14 points, five rebounds, a block and a steal in 24 minutes of play in the Philippines’ emotional 96-75 win over China in their final game of the tournament in front of 11,000. fans delighted at Smart. Araneta Coliseum.
But the 25-year-old full-back highlighted the improvements he needs amid his excellent performance.
“I had too many slip-ups and it showed in my decision-making, my reversals. I’m just happy to have compensated for these turnovers with baskets. But if you look at my game, if you look at the coaches and the fans, I was playing really badly,” Abando said.
Even though he got just one win in five games, missed the second round and failed to qualify for the Olympics, the Korean Basketball League import still urged fans to be happy and proud of their fight throughout the tournament.
“They should be happy and proud. I hope that, in some way, we managed to mitigate their anger by achieving this victory,” he said.
The former NCAA rookie-MVP from Letran has become a fan favorite throughout Gilas Pilipinas’ campaign, from the record-breaking opening night at the Philippine Arena to the final game of the team at the Big Dome.
Abando was grateful for all the cheering and chanting of his last name during the games.
“I’m happy to be the crowd favourite. I can’t find the words to say how flattered I was that there were those who continued to support me, whether I played well or not.
Abando, who averaged 5.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in five games in 13.5 minutes, said in a previous interview that he would continue to serve the country if called up.
Rhenz Abando after leading the hometown scorer with 14 points and five rebounds in the 96-75 win over China. #FIBAWC
posted by Seeker Sports Saturday, September 2, 2023
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