Just like dad, Franz Abuda makes every opportunity count to show defensive DNA
Franz Abuda, son of 11-year PBA veteran Freddie, is getting the opportunity to fight for a spot in San Beda's NCAA lineup, thanks to his work ethic and defensive prowess. Dante Peralta

FRANZ Abuda wasn't even supposed to play on Sunday night. But given the chance, he made every second on the floor count and left his imprint all over the game to help San Beda get the win.

Story sounds familiar?

Well, just like his dad, the 20-year-old forward is seizing every opportunity to showcase his defensive prowess and work ethic as he bids for a spot in the Red Lions roster in the coming NCAA season.

Abuda, of course, need not look far for a role model. His dad Freddie turned himself from a second-round pick in the 1993 PBA draft into an indispensable part of the multi-titled San Miguel teams of his era.

Along the way, the older Abuda, now an assistant in the Ginebra and San Beda coaching staff, won two Defensive Player of the Year awards, four All-Defensive Team citations, three Sportsmanship awards, and eight PBA championships.

"Nung high school pa lang, yun lang ang nagmo-motivate sakin, yung dad ko," Abuda, 20, told SPIN.ph. "Nakakalaro ako sa court dahil sa defense ko lang. Hindi ako tumitingin sa offense, sa defense ko lang talaga."

That has been the case for most of the young career of the the scrappy forward, who was recruited by San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez years ago but found himself in limbo after Fernandez left the team to coach NLEX in the PBA.

Abuda, however, persevered and is finally getting a chance to bid for a place in San Beda's final lineup upon Fernandez's return this season.

"When I recruited him, I talked to Freddie and I was really telling coach (Freddie) that I really want his son to play for San Beda because I want his defensive mentality," Fernandez said.

"It was just unfortunate I left San Beda a year after, pero when I got back, I told Franz, 'Remember when I got you? It's because of your defense.' Hopefully he'll pick it up again."

Abuda, at 6-1 a shade shorter than his father, is making the most of the new lease on life in his career.

On Sunday, he got his minutes only because one of his teammates was injured and promptly delivered, coming off the bench to score five points and grab seven rebounds in the Red Lions' 75-63 win over Letran in the Filoil Cup.

"Actually, nagulat ako kasi nagkaroon ako ng break. Na-injure si Calvin Oftana so kailangan ko mag-step up. Yun lang. Tiwala lang kila coach talaga at sa team," said Abuda.

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Fernandez, who played against Franz's dad in the PBA, doesn't need much more convincing. 

"Franz is the same in terms of basketball talent. He's the same with the father. Yung defensive mentality ng tatay, nakuha niya e," Fernandez said.

"He showed today what he can really do, that's credit to him, to the boy. He really stepped up and hopefully he can follow in the footsteps of his father."

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