It wasn’t an easy 16-month journey, but Phoenix star Calvin Abueva had to endure the longing for the love of the game to come out with a performance to remember.
Many fans and spectators expected a different side of Abueva in his much-awaited return, but the Phoenix forward didn’t consider himself as a changed man.
Instead, Abueva said he’s just simply doubling the effort after being away from the PBA for a long time.
“Actually, hindi ko masabi na bagong Calvin e, ang ginagawa ko [ay] effort,” Abueva said in the live session of 2OT program after the Phoenix’s 114-110 victory over the NLEX Road Warriors Monday night.
“Matagal na panahon akong ‘di nakapaglaro. ‘Yung lesson na ‘yun ang nakapag-create sakin kung paano ako makapaglaro nang maayos.”
Abueva, who checked in with 7:32 mark in the opening quarter, took his time to adjust and familiarize himself with the landscape of the bubble.
Shortly after entering the court as a substitute to JC Intal, Abueva committed an offensive foul over defender Kiefer Ravena. But the usually hot-headed “Beast” gracefully handled the situation by pointing to his teammates and admitting his honest mistake.
The 32-year-old Abueva displayed mastery, not only in basketball but also in keeping his emotions in check throughout the ball game.
“Pero humble lang tayo,” the 6-foot-2 Abueva, who was named Best Player of the Game after posting 21 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists in 32-minutes of play. “Ginawa ko naman ‘yung best ko sa effort na ‘yun. Sabi ko kung ano role ko dati, mas dodoblehin ko pa.”
Abueva did not disappoint as he proved to be an instrumental addition to the Phoenix offensive core in Matthew Wright, Jason Perkins and Justin Chua.
Wright chalked up 28 points, five assists and four rebounds, Perkins had a double-double performance of 20 points, 13 rebounds and one assist, and Chua added 19 points, four rebounds and four assists.
“Role by role kami dito. ‘Di kami nagpapasikatan, ‘di kami nagpapalakihan ng score… ang role ko dito hindi lang points, all-around,” the Pampanga native added.
With the win, Abueva can enjoy a good night’s sleep, much like his bright morning earlier as the Fuel Masters improved to a 4-2 record while the Road Warriors slid to 1-5.