Abundo happy being instant crowd favorite at Star

PBA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Because Star has been goring its opponents in its last five games including Saturday night's quarterfinals Game 1 blowout of Phoenix, Coach Chito Victolero has given his seldom-used wards including Alvin Abundo some playing time.

But Abundo has been making some statements by maximizing the minutes he gets, immediately gaining the applause of the Hotshots fans.

In fact, the former CEU point guard and Gilas Cadets prospect got the loudest cheers at the Mall of Asia Arena when he checked in during the third quarter of the game.

"Overwhelmed pero masaya ako [sa crowd support]. Ayun naman ang trabaho ko coming off the bench. Kailangan ready lang and magbigay ng energy," Abundo told Dugout Philippines after the match.

Abundo only made two points in the game, but that deuce came in style.

He crossed over three Phoenix defenders and flipped the ball in off a little Euro step, sending the fans into frenzy.

"Given opportunity yun. Itinira ko na kasi minsan lang din naman saka open din naman," continued Abundo, who bared that his parents watched the game.

For Coach Chito Victolero, however, Abundo deserves the cheers.

"He works a lot in practice. Malaking bagay sa kanya na maka-practice sina Paul Lee, Jio Jalalon, and Mark Barroca. Nacha-challenge siya.," said Victolero.

Abundo agreed with Victolero, himself a star point guard during his days with the Manila Metrostars in the MBA.

"Sobrang nakaka-challenge, kasi napakabigat ng mga pangalan nila at sobrang galing nila dumepensa. So pagdating ko dito, ang confidence ko mataas," Abundo continued.

Victolero, on the other hand, believes the former King Scorpion has a bright future in the pros.

"He has the right attitude plus yung smartness niya. At the right time, magpe-peak siya," he further said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno