MANILA, Philippines – Is it a blessing or a curse?
Calvin Abueva looked back on his career-derailing suspension as he joined the 5,000-point club in his 11th year in the PBA after scoring 27 points in a 110-95 win over Blackwater in the Governors’ Cup on Wednesday, March 8.
The 16-month ban kept Abueva out for nearly three conferences and also stalled his progress from reaching the scoring milestone.
“If I did not get suspended for 16 months, [I would have achieved the feat earlier],” he said in Filipino.
Abueva, though, felt his time away from the PBA allowed him to work on himself as he got punished for his on-court shenanigans.
The PBA cracked the whip on Abueva in June 2019 for figuring in a verbal spat with a fan and for clotheslining former TNT import Terrence Jones in back-to-back games.
It was only in October the following year when the league lifted his suspension, allowing Abueva to reunite with his former team Phoenix in the middle of the 2020 Philippine Cup.
Abueva proved to be a difference-maker in his comeback as he contended for the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) award and almost helped the Fuel Masters reach the finals for the first time in franchise history.
Traded to the Hotshots after the conference, “The Beast” captured his second BPC plum in the 2021 Philippine Cup and steered Magnolia to the finals, where they eventually fell to TNT in five games.
At 35, Abueva remains one of the Hotshots’ top performers, averaging 14.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal this conference.
“It worked out for me in the end. I was able to prepare myself for my return and I was able to fix my entanglements,” said Abueva.
Abueva, though, said his focus remains on leading Magnolia to a championship, which has eluded the franchise for the last four years.
Establishing their status as perennial contenders, the Hotshots reached at least the semifinals in each of the last four conferences but have yet to win a title since ruling the 2018 Governors’ Cup.
“The individual achievements are just a bonus. They will come with your work, energy, and effort on the court. The big deal is if you’re able to make the finals,” said Abueva.
“It is more important to lead your team to the top. When your team is on top, you’ll also get the individual honors, you’ll be happier.” – Rappler.com
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