The Philippines is up and about in celebration as the scrappy Gilas Pilipinas downed the defending FIBA Asia Cup champion China, 96-87, in their first match on Wednesday, August 9.
The men in blue jumped up and down the court overjoyed as the final buzzer signaled the completion of their upset. Thanks to the late-game heroics of Terrence Romeo and the timely defensive explosion of the athletic Japeth Aguilar, the Philippine national team avoided blowing a 17-point lead to the feared Chinese giants.
One man, however, was celebrating alone from the locker room: “The Beast” Calvin Abueva.
Only halfway through the very first quarter, with Gilas leading 17-11, Abueva was knocked down as he often has been due to the unrelenting wild style of play which has endeared him to many Filipino fans. This time however, he took exception to this and drove a headbutt to a Chinese player’s chin, netting him an automatic ejection.
With Gilas already missing naturalized big man Andray Blatche and seven-footer June Mar Fajardo, the loss of Abueva was as frustrating as it was unnecessary. Thankfully, everything went right for Gilas as they drew first blood.
But what if everything did not go right? What if Romeo failed to stop the bleeding of Gilas? Had they lost, blame would go around and fingers would be pointed. Most would probably fall on the lone player stuck in the showers because once again, he let his emotions get the best of him.
While Calvin Abueva may be undersized, he makes up for it with a big heart. However, if we’ve learned anything from NBA legend Dennis Rodman, it’s that too much heart sometimes does more harm than good. Lucky for Abueva, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) already gave their word that he would not receive a suspension. If he had, then Gilas would have missed their scrappiest forward for practically two games in a row.
This is the same man who was cut from the Gilas roster during the FIBA Asia Qualifying Tournament before the 2016 Olympics and took it personally, which as we have seen today, is quite the recurring theme.
If “The Beast” wishes to be respected by his peers and be counted upon by his coaches, he should learn how to tame himself on the court and channel his undeniable passion to dropping buckets and outrebounding his physically gifted opponents. During a time when three-pointers refuse to fall or blocking opportunities don’t arrive, hustle is the one thing that will keep a team alive, and you can’t display your hustle if you can’t even play.
Sooner rather than later, Abueva should realize that too much “puso” won’t win him a game. – Rappler.com