No more looking back for Alaska’s Calvin Abueva
MANILA, Philippines – Painful though the past month has been for the Alaska Aces, forward Calvin Abueva has decided to set his sights on future possibilities.
The 28-year-old bundle of energy is all about moving forward and letting go in the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, just a few weeks after Alaska’s heartbreaking Philippine Cup Finals loss to the San Miguel Beermen.
“Hindi ko na iniisip yung bawi bawi, yung nangyari. Past na yun e. Going backward na yun e. Ito naman forward naman,” Abueva said Saturday, February 27. (I don’t think about redemption or what happened. That’s going backward. This, now, is going forward.)
The Aces, runners-up to all 3 of their conference finals appearances in the past year, are still licking their wounds from going down in history as the first team to blow a 3-0 lead and lose a best-of-7 series.
Abueva, however, is healing nicely through productivity in the first 3 games. He had an offensive outburst Saturday to lead Alaska to a 128-102 shellacking of Rain or Shine with 25 points, 8 rebounds, two assists and two steals.
“Ibang conference, ibang datingan, ibang laro. Kaya siyempre mas hinihigitan mo yung (effort). Mahaba, maraming conference na siguro makakakuha tayo kahit isa doon,” said Abueva, who finished the game ala Steph Curry by not playing in the fourth, because he no longer needed to.
“Sabi natin siyempre hindi naman lahat ng bagay nasa atin. Meron talo, meron panalo pero siyempre once na nananalo tayo mas hinihigitan pa natin yung performance natin para makarating dito sa next level.”
(This is a different conference, a different look, different game. So of course I have to put in more effort. It’s a long conference and there are other conferences so maybe we can get at least one of those. I know we can’t have everything. We will lose, we will win but once we win we will improve our performance to get to the next level.)
Abueva, rocking his brand new cornrows, contributed to a 36-point third quarter uprising that left the skidding Painters in the dust. He played just over 23 minutes but was 9-of-16 from the field including a couple of 3-pointers.
“You all know what Calvin can do,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton. “He has a whole different level of energy and his ability to rebound the ball, get the ball, and his toughness is sometimes otherworldly. And if he’s stroking the 3, that changes the game a little bit.”
Abueva’s offensive production partly has to do with having adjusted to being a small forward coming from the power forward position since the Philippine Cup.
Compton explained Abueva started the all-Filipino conference at the 3 spot but later played some stretches at the 4 during the finals. But with an import beefing up the frontline for the Commissioner’s Cup, Compton moved Abueva back to the 3.
“Calvin was the easiest guy to move to the wing and he’s been adjusting,” Compton explained. “I thought obviously he had a great game. There’ll be ups and downs but hopefully the progression continues.”
“I really planned on bringing him back in the fourth but we kept the lead, kept widening it, so I thought, wow these guys are playing great so I didn’t bring him back, just let him rest,” he added.
The Gilas Pilipinas member put up 11 points in each of Alaska’s previous two games and is now averaging 15.7 points and 7.7 rebounds a game.
While his offense is certainly a boost to the Aces, Abueva is not willing to force anything.
“Hindi naman ako humahanap ng tira sa labas, marami shooters sa amin. Natataon lang talaga na napapa tiempo, pumapasok.” (I don’t look for my outside shots, we have plenty of shooters. It just so happened that I get the timing and it goes in.) – Rappler.com