Magnolia’s acquisition of Calvin Abueva is certainly a welcome development for the 2014 PBA Grand Slam champions.
With veteran big man Marc Pingris still a big question mark for the upcoming season, the arrival of the hardworking former national team player couldn’t have come at a better time.
While ‘The Beast’ is expected to bring tons of energy and other intangibles, how he’ll fit into coach Chito Victolero’s system will determine how far the team will go in its bid to bounce back from a disastrous 7th place finish in the 2020 Philippine Cup.
“Kilala naman natin si Calvin kung paano siya maglaro. Siguro babagsak pa rin sa chemistry yan pagdating na sa laro. Kasi minsan kahit anong sabihin mo, yung matagal ngang team minsan nagkaka-problema pa sa chemistry,” explained star guard Paul Lee.
“I’ll be honest, si Calvin minsan parang meron siyang sariling mundo sa laro, which is minsan ok naman sa team yung nangyayari, pero minsan masaman rin sa team yung nangyayari. So yun ang isang bagay na kailangan ma-control namin siya or masabihan namin siya,” he added.
Abueva, who was acquired from Phoenix in exchange for Chris Banchero along with some picks, is known around the league for his theatrics. He was slapped a 16-month suspension following a football-style tackle on TNT import Terrence Jones during the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup. The ban was eventually lifted during the ‘bubble season’ and the 33-year old native of Angeles City immediately went to work and was even instrumental in the Fuel Masters’ top four finish.
He ranked second in the statistical race with 37.1 points, just behind Ray Parks’ 38.3, on averages of 15.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.7 steals in 12 games and was even a strong contender for the Sportsmanship award.
According to Lee, that is the kind of player that the team is expecting come game time.
“Hindi namin siya pipigilan kung ano yung kailangan niyang gawin. Kasi yun siya eh, Calvin Abueva siya. Dun siya kilala talaga. Alam namin sa sarili namin na lumakas yung team at kaya naming mag match up sa iba,” stressed Lee.
“Kumbaga, kung merong malalaki yung ibang team na hindi namin kayang i-match up, meron din kaming spot na magiging advantage namin sa kanila. So si Calvin magiging flexible siya sa team namin, kasi he can guard small, and he can guard yung bigs ng iba. Malaking bagay siya dun,” he added.