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MANILA, Philippines – It felt like an answered prayer for Calvin Abueva.
Abueva said Gilas Pilipinas can expect nothing but the best from him in his return as he reinforces the rejigged national squad that will represent the country in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China later this September.
“I’m just honored to come back. I prayed for this, to play here again at age 35. I told myself, if I’m given another chance, I’ll give 110% for this fight,” said Abueva in Filipino.
A four-time PBA Mythical First Team member, Abueva donned the national color for years under former head coaches Chot Reyes and Tab Baldwin.
But his national team career came to an abrupt halt when Abueva and nine other players were suspended by FIBA for their roles in a bench-clearing brawl with Australia during a qualifier for the World Cup in 2018.
After a long five-year wait, though, Abueva is back with fellow returnee Terrence Romeo as they seek to help Gilas Pilipinas capture its first Asian Games medal in 25 years, or since the country won bronze in the 1998 edition.
“These are not easy games. These are hard games in the Asian Games. We need to win the gold,” said the Magnolia forward.
Beloved for his endless energy and grit but also notorious for his antics, Abueva said fans will see a new side of him in the Asian Games.
“It will be a different Abueva. Whatever help the team needs, I’ll provide,” said Abueva.
“We all know that our bashers are waiting for just one mistake. That is why we need to focus and give our best here.”
The Philippines will face Jordan, Thailand, and Bahrain in the group stage of the tournament that will tip off on September 26. – Rappler.com