WITHOUT Ateneo’s 7-foot-1 center Kai Sotto, the spotlight is likely to fall on Far Eastern University’s RJ Abarrientos when the 7th Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship 'Rain or Shine Cup' unwraps on Saturday at the SGS gym in Quezon City.
The nephew of PBA great Johnny Abarrientos – himself a Tamaraw legend – is making heads turn in the UAAP high school tournament with his variety of wondrous moves.
“He’s a joy to watch because of his dazzling moves,” said league chairman Terry Que, co-team owner of Rain or Shine in the PBA. “He’s a very good player so we expect him to lead his team to the championship.”
Abarrientos was at his best in the team’s stunning 67-62 overtime win over defending champion Ateneo where he exploded for 28 points, 12 of them in the extra period.
Also expected to shine in the week-long tournament also sponsored by Dickies Underwear, IronCon Builders, Blackwater Sports, Hapee Toothpaste, MEC Networks, Poly Gloss, Freego Jeans and Che’ Lu Bar and Grill are National University’s Terrence Fortea, Gerry Abadiano, and Carl Tamayo, UST’s Mark Nonoy and Bismark Lina, and FEU’s Royce Alforque.
Former chairman Rudy Yu of Dickies Underwear, however, said this year’s edition will see a lot of exciting players, noting the return of Xavier School adds luster to the annual event.
Yu also cited Mapua’s rookie sensation Paolo Hernandez who emerged as NCAA Finals MVP when the Red Robins regained the crown by beating the La Salle Greenhills.
Also worth watching in the event also backed by Masumax Food Supplement, Cherrylume, SUMO GI Sheets and Choi Garden are Xavier’s Miguel Tan, Chiang Kai Shek College’s Rafael Go and Michael Urmeneta, and Hope Christian High School’s Christian Pauco and Harvey Pagsanjan.