RJ Abarrientos credited his solid debut for Gilas Pilipinas against South Korea to having a mentality of being prepared regardless of the situation.
Many were impressed with the way Abarrientos played during his 14-minute appearance in Wednesday’s 81-78 win, posting six points and three assists, including a give-and-go play in the second quarter that led to Kai Sotto’s first field goal.
Some even said that the 5-foot-11 Far Eastern University guard showed a bit of resemblance to the play of his uncle Johnny Abarrientos, who represented the country in two Asian Games and the 1991 Southeast Asian Games.
“Siguro lagi ko lang iniisip na dapat prepared lang palagi dahil unang-una di naman pwedeng lalaban o sasabak na wala kaming dalang mga armas,” the 21-year-old said after Wednesday’s FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers game at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
“Kung maglaro man ako off the bench or starter ako, iniisip ko na dapat gawin o yung makakatulong sa team para makuha namin ang panalo,” he added.
Abarrientos didn’t get the starting role for the game that saw South Korea lead by 17 in the second quarter.
But Abarrientos provided the spunk Gilas needed to slowly orchestrate a comeback, beginning with his pass to Sotto, who would convert a left hook off Ricardo Ratliffe.
He also made drives to the basket during the quarter which ended with Gilas trailing 42-34, but enough momentum to continue its climb back into the contest.
“Nasa mindset ko lang talaga na magkaroon ng quality time at gawin ko part ko para makatulong manalo,” he said.