The opportunity to play in an international setting and the exposure it provides got RJ Abarrientos excited to sign up and play in the Korean Basketball League, with club team Ulsan Hyundai Mobis.
The 22-year-old Abarrientos said this a week after he signed up for the Ulsan Hyundai Mobis, a finalist in 2020-2021 season of the KBL.
Abarrientos, who is skipping his remaining years with Far Eastern University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, is among two Filipino collegiate players, who recently entered into contracts with the Korean club teams, next to SJ Belangel of Ateneo.
Belangel is suiting up with new entry, Daegu KOGAS Pegasus for the next two seasons.
“Matagal ko na po itong pangarap nu’ng naglalaro pa ako sa high school at college. Sabi ko, once na may nag offer sa akin na pro league at international, I will grab it. Heto na talaga,” said Abarrientos on the weekly program, “Power and Play.”
The 5’11” Abarrientos, a point guard who averages 8.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists, is still part of the Gilas Pilipinas national men’s basketball team, though.
And he will be among 11 players in the Gilas squad when they see action in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers’ third window.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas included his name in the final roster on Saturday, along with Belangel, some five days before their first game.
The others in the roster includes, Kiefer Ravena, who plays for the Shiga Lakestars in the Japan B.League, and Dwight Ramos, who is suiting up for another B.League squad Hokkaido.
Also listed are Rhenz Abando of Letran, Geo Chiu of Ateneo, William Navarro, Kevin Quiambao of La Salle, Carl Tamayo of University of the Philippines, and free agent LeBron Lopez.
Returning is Ateneo’s Dave Ildefonso, who missed the two-game friendlies in Korea, due to an ankle injury, is back.
Angelo Kouame is not included because of a partial ACL tear injury.
Gilas, which has a 1-1 win-loss card in Group C, will meet the New Zealand Tall Blacks (3-0) at Event Finda Stadium in Auckland on June 30.
Then, Gilas clashes with India (0-3) at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on July 3.