Rhenz Abando’s reunion in the Philippines can be assumed to be all smiles, with his Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters triumph over TNT Tropang GIGA on Wednesday night, even if the 25-year-old Asian Import of the Korean Basketball League (KBL) was on the sidelines due to an injury.
Regardless of his absence, the PhilSports Arena visitors choreographed a commanding feat, leading most of the contest until an 88-76 final buzzer to claim their third win of the East Asia Super League (EASL) group stages.
The Red Boosters amassed a towering lead out of the gate, outscoring the Tropang GIGA 34 to 19 in the first, which lessened to 12 come halftime. With their backs against the walls, TNT showed no signs of slowing down, trimming the lead to five points in the fourth period. They were soon met with a barrage of three-pointers from Choi Seong Won on 100 percent shooting from beyond the arc, resulting in Anyang’s 12-point victory.
With Seong Won covering the perimeter, forward-center Robert Carter Jr. overwhelmed the paint, concluding with a near triple-double on 22 markers, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists. The 6-foot-9 cager, who made his first appearance in the Philippines, eagerly awaited to play in the country due to sentiments from Rhenz Abando and his former B.League San-en NeoPhoenix teammate, Thirdy Ravena.
“He [Rhenz Abando] just told me that Filipinos love basketball. I also played with Thirdy Ravena when I was in Japan, and he always talked about the Philippines. I was very excited to come here [for] my first time,” Carter Jr. mentioned to Complex Philippines.
Securing the victory in Manila, the Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters proceed to the EASL post-season with a 3-2 record, as Linsanity’s New Taipei Kings await them in the semis.