RABEH Al Hussaini's PBA comeback is not about money but about self-fulfillment and redemption, his half-brother Carlo Sharma said on Saturday.
Sharma said Al-Hussaini is more motivated than ever to prove himself in the PBA after returning from 'self exile' in Kuwait to sign a fresh one-year contract to sign with the Meralco Bolts.
"Ang layo ng naging maturity niya after the long absence," Sharma said. "Mas focused siya ngayon, kasi nung nawala siya na-realize niya ang pagka-miss niya sa high-level basketball.
"Iba kasi ang laro dun (sa Kuwait), hindi kasing intense ng mga laro dito sa atin," he added.
Sharma said his half brother has kept himself under the radar since he returned to the country almost a month ago because he is completely focused on proving himself in his PBA comeback.
"Gusto niya kasi na pag naglaro siya, makita ng tao yung mga naging pagbabago sa kanya," he said.
To get himself ready, Al-Hussaini went through weeks of one-on-one training with Meralco coach Norman Black and is a regular fixture at House of Pain plyometrics gym in The Fort Taguig under famed trainer John Aquino.
"Okay ang commitment ni Rabeh ngayon sa training," said Aquino, who also trains the likes of Asi Taulava and Dondon Hontiveros. "Pukpok talaga, kasi twice a day s'ya mag-ensayo, isa sa akin, isa sa MeraLco. Sunday lang s'ya nagbe-break sa training. Maganda ang kundisyon n'ya ngayon."
Sharma said: "He's in great shape. Mas maganda kundisyon niya ngayon than ever before."
Al-Hussaini, a former Ateneo star and PBA Rookie of the Year awardee, left for Kuwait in May of last year to fix his citizenship papers. He ended up staying over a year while playing Division I ball in his father's homeland.
The older brother explained why Al-Hussaini stayed longer than planned in Kuwait.
"Ang dami niya talagang inasikasong papers, mula sa citizenship niya hanggang dun sa mga mana n'ya. Paalis na nga siya ng Kuwait may mga dokumento pa siyang hinahabol na iaayos eh," Sharma said before leaving the Moro Lorenze gym to pick up his younger brother in Ortigas.
Asked why Al-Hussaini chose to return to the country when he can live off his inheritance, Sharma said: "(His PBA comeback) is not about money naman para sa kanya eh. Sabi ko nga sa 'yo, self-fulfilment lang 'yun.
"It's nothing money can't buy and walang mas magiging proud sa mundo kung makikita ko si Rabeh na mag-succeed pang lalo sa PBA return niya.
"Hinahanap hanap rin niya kasi ang laro dito sa atin. Iba ang level dun, ako naglaro din ako ng tune-up run. Iba basketball run," explained Sharma.
The 6-7 Fil-Kuwaiti is now expected to provide size and muscle to the frontline of Meralco, which recently acquired former league MVP Jimmy Alapag and hard-banging forward Kelly Nabong,.
The Bolts can further improve their roster with the fourth and seventh picks in the talent-laden PBA draft set this Sunday at Robinsons Place in Ermita, Manila.