Abando thanks Rondina, UST fans for support amid controversy

ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – Rhenz Abando's week has been tense, to say the least.

From being mysteriously benched in a crucial game against UP, to rumors surfacing regarding alleged poaching, the UST Growling Tigers rising star has been embroiled in a sudden controversy that rocked the community for the last few days.

However, all's well that ends well for Abando as he quickly reaffirmed his commitment to the Growling Tigers program and suited up for their game against the NU Bulldogs.

After contributing 9 points off the bench in the 88-76 blowout, the La Union native just thanked everyone, including a volleyball superstar, who supported him amid that difficult ordeal.

"Maraming-maraming salamat din kina Sisi [Rondina] kasi sinusuportahan nila kami," he said after the game. "Mas lalong nakakamahal 'yung UST dahil sa ganiyang suporta, mas lalong nakaka-boost ng energy dahil sa kanila."

(Thank you very much to Sisi and the others because they supported me. I’m loving UST more because of that support because I get an energy boost from them.)

Although Abando thanked those who got his back, he was also disappointed at those who talked behind him while he was down.

"'Di ko maexplain eh," he continued. "Nandoon 'yung part na masaya, nandoon 'yung part na malungkot kasi nga, 'yung mga side comment na 'di maganda, 'di nakatulong."

(I couldn’t explain it. There’s a part where I’m happy and another where I’m sad because the bad side comments didn’t help.)

Indeed, opinion on the controversy was split on both sides online, with some going against the alleged recruiters and others dressing Abando down for allegedly considering leaving the Tigers' lair.

Because of this, the 6-foot-2 swingman is just relieved that his teammates brought his confidence back heading to the crucial stretch of their Final Four campaign.

"Nandiyan naman 'yung mga teammate ko, sinasabihan nila ako na parang walang nangyari," he said. "Sabi nila, kumpiyansa lang, 'wag mo na intindihin 'yung mga nangyari, mga sinasabi. Kumpiyansa lang."

(My teammates were there and they just told me stuff like nothing happened. They told me to just keep my confidence up and not mind what happened or what they were saying. Just keep confident.)

With the issue now past him, Abando reiterated to the community that he is here to stay, and stay for good.

"Dito lang ako hanggang matapos ang collegiate career ko. Apat na taon pa!"

(I'm just here until the end of my collegiate career. Four more years!) – Rappler.com