When news broke out on the trade that dealt Calvin Abueva to Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, veteran forward Marc Pingris was one of the team mainstays that reached out and welcomed “The “Beast”.
The two, despite their heated clashes in the PBA the past several years, have kept a strong bond following their stint together with Gilas Pilipinas during the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in China.
“Hindi pa kami nagkita pero nag-message kami. Sabi niya ‘brad ayusin mo na diyan’,” said Abueva as he appeared Saturday on the weekly sports show The Chasedown on One PH over Cignal TV.
“It’s a big opportunity na andiyan ka (with Magnolia), huwag mo na pakawalan. Ito yung kumpanya na alam mong makaka-ipon ka, maga-grab mo lahat ng opportunity na dadating sayo.”
This is the third team for Abueva after stints with Alaska and Phoenix Fuel.
While he is considered among the best with his energy and enthusiasm during games, Abueva is also a controversial figure on and off the court. He was suspended for 16 months for unsportsmanlike foul two years ago in former TNT KaTropa import Terrence Jones.
He was shipped by Phoenix to Magnolia for Chris Banchero plus draft picks.
The arrival of Abueva to the Hotshots gives the team of coach Chito Victolero a solid opportunity to compete for the title, especially in the Philippine Cup, which is tentatively set to start April 9.
The 6-foot-3 Abueva joins a frontline of Ian Sangalang, Jackson Corpuz, Rome dela Rosa, Rafi Reavis, while the team’s backcourt rotation remains one of the best in the league with Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon and Justin Melton.
Also, the possibility of Pingris rejoining Magnolia is something that really excites Abueva. Pingris remains in the injured list as he continues to get in tip-top shape following an injury.
“Sana nga magkasama kami dito maski isang season lang bago siya mag-retire. Beterano e, at yung experience niya, yung linaro niya, iba yung experience niya sa experience namin ngayon.”