Abando hopeful to see action in EASL Final 4

John Bryan Ulanday - Philstar.com
Abando hopeful to see action in EASL Final 4
Rhenz Abando (12)
East Asia Super League

Games Friday
(Hoops Dome, Lapu-Lapu City)
5 p.m. – Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters vs Seoul SK Knights
8 p.m. – Chiba Jets vs New Taipei Kings

LAPU-LAPU CITY – All roads lead to the Hoops Dome here in Cebu as the four visiting teams treat the Philippines as their home court for the Final Four of the first East Asia Super League home-and-away season.

Filipino pride Rhenz Abando, who’s serving as an Asian import for Anyang, headlines the star-studded EASL semifinal cast albeit his status is still up in the air after slightly aggravating his back injury last week in his Korean Basketball League (KBL) return.

But Abando, pending the result of his scrimmage with the Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters, is determined to give it a try in a bid to put on a show in front of the Filipino fans with no less than the EASL title on the line.

“Hindi ko pa sure pero susubukan ko. Sobrang excited ako na i-represent ‘yung team ko sa Korea at syempre, ‘yung Pilipinas,” said the fan-favorite high-flyer in a much-awaited homecoming after playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup here last year.

“Excited ako na dito gaganapin kaya talagang i-re-ready ko ‘yung katawan ko para makapagbigay ng saya sa Pilipinas.”

Anyang, which ruled the EASL Champions League and the KBL last year over its Korean rival Seoul, takes on the latter in a rematch at 5 p.m. followed by the other semis bracket featuring Japan B. League’s Chiba Jets and the New Taipei Kings of P.League+ at 8 p.m.

Headlined by Japan national team veteran Yuki Togashi, Chiba (6-0) swept Group A followed by Anyang (4-2) while Seoul (4-2), led by EASL’s top scorer in Jameel Warney, and New Taipei (4-2), bannered by former NBA sensation Jeremy Lin, topped Group B to enter the Final Four here.

The winner then figures in a one-game finale on Sunday for the $1-million grand prize and the coveted inaugural title of the EASL participated by the top teams from Korea, Japan, Chinese Taipei and the Philippines.

“We could not be more excited for the competitions in the days ahead. It’s a historic moment for Asian basketball. We believe that in 10, 20 and 30 years, basketball friends across Asia will still be talking about who won the first EASL here in Cebu,” said EASL CEO Henry Kerins.

“Whoever claims the title will be etched in history.”

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