ANTIPOLO - Rhenz Abando shook off the poaching controversy that hounded him the past week, saying he has dealt with - and survived - bigger problems before.
The high-flying University of Santo Tomas forward said he is just happy to come out of this emotional week a better man after he was benched for allegedly entertaining offers from other schools - accusations he later denied.
"Di ko ma-explain eh. Nandoon yung part na masaya, nandoon yung part na malungkot kasi nga yung mga side comment na di maganda, hindi nakakatulong," said the 6-foot-2 rising star said.
On Saturday, Abando returned to the UST lineup and helped the Growling Tigers turn back National University, 88-76 at Ynares Center. He checked in at the 8:45 mark of the second quarter and contributed nine points and five rebounds in 16 minutes of play.
As tough as the week was, the 21-year-old credited his teammates for helping him move on and be a contributor once more for UST.
"Nandyan naman yung mga teammates ko, sinasabihan nila ako na parang walang nangyari," he said. "Sabi nila, kumpyansa lang at wag ko na intindihin yung mga nangyari, yung mga sinasabi."
But if you think that's the toughest challenge Abando has endured in his life, think again.
The Sto. Tomas, La Union native said he has been used to hardship ever since he was a kid, which explains the tremendous resolve he showed in the face of this controversy.
"Hindi ito yung pinakamahirap na pinagdaanan ko kasi mas grabe pa yung pinagdaanan ko nung nasa probinsya pa ako eh, financial problems," he said.
"Itong nangyaring ito, di ako nahirapan kasi nandyan lang yung mga teammates ko, nasa likod ko lang. Yung mga pinagdaanan ko nung bata ako, mas tumibay ako, dun so parang wala na lang din ito."
Abando also thanked the UST community for keeping daith in him as he reiterated his commitment to finish his collegiate career with the Tigers.
"Dito lang ako hanggang matapos ang collegiate career ko. Apat na taon pa!," he said.