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Abueva to fit right in at Magnolia, says Victolero

Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero only had praises for Calvin Abueva as the team beefed up its roster for the upcoming PBA season by trading for the do-it-all forward.

Abueva got shipped from Phoenix to Magnolia along with a first-round pick (10th overall) in the March 14 draft in exchange for Chris Banchero, a first-round (6th overall), and a second-round (18th overall) pick.

"It is a big addition because he can play multiple positions that will make our game more versatile," Victolero told Rappler in Filipino.

"We can play small, big, or we can play a safe size. Because we're more of a defensive team, Calvin will help us a lot in terms of our pressure defense and uptempo game. Even the rebounding, he can help us a lot."

Banchero played an important role for Magnolia in the previous season, averaging 10.8 points, 3.5 assists, and 2.9 rebounds as the team reached the playoffs of the Philippine Cup.

Victolero, though, knows they have to give up a quality player in exchange for another one.

"We lost Chris, who is a pesky player. But we gained another pesky player, so that is okay," Victolero said.

"Calvin is a motor guy. He is an active player. That is why when they told me about the trade, I was really okay with it. He is a good fit for us."

Abueva returned from a 16-month suspension in the All-Filipino conference and helped transform Phoenix into a title contender as the team almost barged into its first finals appearance in franchise history.

Phoenix fell short to TNT after 7 semifinal games.

In his first conference back in the PBA, Abueva hardly looked like he missed time as he averaged 15.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.7 steals.

Abueva contended for the Best Player of the Conference award and eventually earned a slot in the Outstanding Five.

"He is more focused. He improved his game. We can see it in his stats – average points, rebounds, assists, steals," Victolero said. "I think he learned a lot from his experience before."

Victolero added Abueva also brings with him the intangibles that he has been known for throughout his PBA career.

"His energy, his hustle, his leadership, and his never-say-die spirit are there. You cannot find those in the stats but they are there." – Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.

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