From PBA D-League to UAAP 82, Ravena always saw something special in Abando, Nonoy
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 11, 2019 03:54 PM
Last March, Ironcon-University of Sto. Tomas downed eventual champion Cignal-Ateneo in the PBA D-League.
Showing the way for the Growling Tigers was first-year forward Rhenz Abando who had 21 points to his name.
Afterward, Blue Eagle Thirdy Ravena could only sing his praises. “He’s going to be a threat to the whole league in the coming years,” he said then.
Fast forward six months and Abando has taken the UAAP 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament by storm.
That isn’t a surprise to Ravena in any way at all. As he put it, “Honestly, alam ko nang parating yun. It was just a matter of everyone seeing it.”
He then continued, “I already knew there’s something different in him eh - he has the determination and yung willingness niya to play and perform is just on a different level. Yung mga ganung klaseng players, special players eh.”
Indeed, the 6-foot-2 wing added another highlight to his reel with an alley-oop dunk. "He's unique. Honestly, yung athleticism niya, yung shooting niya, ang hirap na mix nun," Ravena said post-game.
According to Ateneo's top gun, though, Abando isn't the only UST player who should be getting attention. "Kita mo sa laro (ni Abando) na he just wants to play - just like nakikita ko kay Mark Nonoy, Gusto lang nilang maglaro. Wala silang ibang iniisip kundi basketball," he said.
He then continued, "Maganda panoorin yun, pero mas mahirap bantayan. That's what makes them special."
In the way that Abando is the pride of Pangasinan, Nonoy is Espana's prized transferee from Negros Occidental.
And in those two - as well as CJ Cansino and Beninese Soulemane Chabi Yo - the black and gold's future is secure.
Two-time champion and two-time Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena believes so.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.