Rhenz Abando, one of the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers’ key players, will be back when Tigers go up against the National University Bulldogs on Sunday.
UST coach Aldin Ayo has cleared him to play in their 1 p.m. encounter with the Bulldogs at the Ynares gym, Antipolo.
Ayo benched Abando last Wednesday when they played against the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons and won, 84-78.
This was after the team got distracted by reported offers for Abando to transfer to rival schools.
Abando, who is from La Union, told Ayo in a one-on-one meeting that he had no plans to transfer to another school.
The players told Ayo that he “was merely getting persistent offers from other UAAP schools.”
“Kasi may mga UAAP teams na, siguro, strategy nila, they’re going against us on and off the court. They do things para madistract ‘yong team,” Ayo said in a statement.
Following their win over UP, the Tigers are at solo third with a 6-5 win-loss card, and can overtake the Fighting Maroons if they win against NU.
Ayo believes in the potency of the outside shooting of the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, and this is said to be the team’s most reliable weapon.
“We don’t have a dominant bigs. Our foreigner (Soulemane Chabi Yo) is a three guy. So if we don’t run, the whole UAAP knows it na ang liliit namin eh, so ‘yun ang tinitira namin,” said Ayo.
UST was behind by two points with 53 seconds left when Brent Paraiso and Renz Subido drained two three-pointers to give the Growling Tigers a four-point advantage.
And the Fighting Maroons struggled to come back after UST established an 82-78 edge with 26.7 ticks left.
“Natural na sa amin ‘yon. Lots of people are asking and actually criticizing us [na] why are we taking lots of three-point shots,” added Ayo.
Because of this UST, picked up their sixth win in 11 games.
UP’s loss endangered the Fighting Maroons’ place at second spot with their 6-4 win-loss record.