Rhenz Abando hopes for understanding from UST: Sana tanggapin pa din nila ako

Published September 10, 2020, 5:27 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Rhenz Abando
Rhenz Abando, right, is now a Letran Knight after leaving the UST Tigers’ lair. (UAAP Image)

One of these days, Rhenz Abondo said he would rach out and contact former University of Santo Tomas mentor Aldin Ayo – simply to say thanks after playing one season under the latter’s tutelage.

The one-time UST standout has transferred to Letran together with two other Tigers, Ira Bataller and Brent Paraiso, but for Abando, he has nothing but respect for the embattled Ayo.

READ: Knights welcome 3 ex-Tigers

“Siguro tatawagan ko si coach Aldin… hindi ko pa din siya nakakausap,” said Abando, the 6-foot-4 forward from La Union, in a recent phone interview with Manila Bulletin.

After two seasons with the Philippine College Science and Technology in Calasiao, Pangasinan, Abando was among the highly-touted recruits of Ayo in the lead up to the 2019 UAAP Season.

Abando played a huge role as the Tigers returned to the Finals after a stunning victory over heavy favorite University of the Philippines in the Final Four.

Although the team fell to eventual champion Ateneo, UST got everybody’s attention as among the teams to beat in the 2020 Season.

However, things went on a standstill when the coronavirus pandemic, and like other tournaments, the UAAP season did not push through.

Things went from bad to worst for UST when it was revealed that its men’s basketball team conducted ‘bubble’ training in Sorsogon, violating government orders of ‘no training’ for amateurs.

This led to not just the UAAP conducting an investigation but a similar inquiry by government officials.

Ayo has already been banned indefinitely by the UAAP board, which is expected to also hand a decision on the school.

READ: UST formally accepts Aldin Ayo’s resignation

Players earlier began to leave the squad, first with team captain CJ Cansino moving to UP, Jun Asuncion joining the Mapua Cardinals, and Abando, Paraiso and Bataller transferring to Letran.

Had it not been for the controversy,  plus the anticipated suspension of UST, Abando said he would have stayed with the Tigers.

READ: PBA dreams within reach at Letran, says ex-UST Tiger Rhenz Abando

“Hindi pa talaga alam, pero ang sabi baka two years. Kaya nag-decide na ako na lumipat. Inunahan ko na kesa mag-antay,” said Abando.

“Kung one-year (suspension) OK, pero kasi baka two years, so paano na? Two (playing) years na lang ako, so naisip ko din paano yung basketball career ko kung two years (suspended)?”

Abando said he hopes for understanding, particularly from the UST faithful, students, alumni and school officials, who welcomed him with open arms a year ago.

He said that there would also come a time that he’ll visit the campus.

“Sana tanggapin pa din nila ako,” said Abando.