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Abando seeks World Cup roster slot

Photo from: DugOut Philippines

Rhenz Abando vows to show up in Gilas Pilipinas training — come hell or high water.

In a conversation with Daily Tribune, the 25-year-old swingman admitted that he had to beg off from a scheduled business meeting so that he can join the Gilas training in preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup that the country will host from 25 August to 10 September.

Abando is one of the underrated members of the 20-man Gilas pool.

He flew under the radar during his college days with University of Santo Tomas and Letran College until he was included in the Gilas squad that saw action in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers and the FIBA Asia Cup last year.

He left Letran after a year of playing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association to see action for Anyang KGC in the Korean Basketball League.

He found some measure of success in Korea as he towed Anyang KGC to the title while emerging as slam dunk king and bagging the 3×3 crown.

Now, he’s back in the country and stressed that nothing can stop him from joining Gilas training.

“I’m excited to be part of the national team again,” Abando said.

“In fact, I had to cancel a business meeting for endorsement. Fortunately, the boss was very understanding and he agreed to reset the meeting to another day.”

Gilas coach Chot Reyes admitted that attendance is their biggest concern in the early stretch of their preparation.

He said they don’t have enough personnel to conduct full-contact training so they were limited to light workout and shootaround during their second session last Tuesday at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City.

Fortunately, Abando was there as he is serious and determined to land a spot in the team that will battle Italy, Dominican Republic and Angola in the preliminaries at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“I think it’s still 50-50,” said Abando when asked about his chances of making the World Cup roster.

“I’m competing for a spot against the best, more experienced players, so I’m not expecting much. But I will do the best I can in practice in competing for a roster spot and I want to be a part of the World Cup.”

For Abando, playing in the World Cup would be a dream come true and this would help him down the road in the next chapter of his career.

“I would be so happy if I make it there. It’s a far-fetched reality, but I would definitely work hard for it,” he added.

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