Philippine basketball

Not the first time: Calvin Abueva’s other career issues, on and off the court

JR Isaga

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Not the first time: Calvin Abueva’s other career issues, on and off the court

THE BEAST. Calvin Abueva and Magnolia stay alive in their bid to reach the PBA Governors' Cup finals.

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Take a look back at Calvin Abueva’s over-the-top antics and on-court troubles in an up-and-down career as the controversial PBA star finds himself in hot water again, this time in the Commissioner's Cup finals

MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia Hotshots forward Calvin Abueva has been, without a doubt, one of the most polarizing figures in PBA history.

Aptly nicknamed “The Beast” for his tremendous hustle and energy on the court, the 36-year-old veteran has, however, also had his fair share of over-the-top antics that have turned the public and even the PBA against him time and again.

Just last Sunday, February 4, Abueva once again found himself in hot water for two separate encounters in Game 2 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals: mocking San Miguel coach Jorge Gallent’s partial blindness and figuring in a shouting match with Mo Tautuaa and his wife after the game.

Although the PBA spared him of any suspensions amid a crucial stretch for his reeling team, Abueva still forked over P100,000 for his on-camera slight on Gallent and was asked to make amends with Tautuaa in the league office.

Unfortunately for Abueva, this is far from the first time he has committed a grave offense in his up-and-down basketball career.

These are the other times ‘The Beast’ ran wild way too much for his own good:


In a high-emotion contact game like basketball, taunting is a part of daily hoops life – some would even say a genuine strategy – that often gets reined in by referees calling technical fouls.

Abueva, however, has gotten under the skin of people not within the bounds of the hardwood floor, and Gallent was not the first casualty of his animated barbs.

Back in May 2019, Abueva directed vulgar gestures to Maika Rivera, former girlfriend of ex-PBA star Ray Parks, which the then Phoenix standout defended as nothing but retaliation to Rivera’s heckling.

Asked about the altercation after the game, Abueva initially refused to apologize, saying that it was Rivera who started the commotion in the first place.

The incident prompted Phoenix to fine Abueva, who personally apologized to then TNT ace Parks, but only over a year later. Parks said, though, that Abueva should have directed his apology to Rivera.


As a byproduct of his tenacious defense and hustle, Abueva has been involved in multiple heated on-court tussles with players, local and foreign alike.

To Abueva’s credit, he did not start nor escalate every single fight he’s been in, but he has nonetheless been a magnet for conflict multiple times in the last few years.

In July 2018, Abueva had a literal hand in escalating the infamous Gilas Pilipinas-Australia brawl at the Philippine Arena, where he was ejected and subsequently handed a suspension from FIBA games.

In October 2018, then as part of Phoenix, Abueva gave former San Miguel import Kevin Murphy a subtle abdomen shot during a rebound battle, causing the latter to drag the San Sebastian alum by the neck from the post all the way to a nearby crowd barrier – in turn causing benches to clear in the fallout.

In June 2022, Abueva – now with Magnolia – was suspended one game and given a P10,000 fine for two consecutive instances of unsportsmanlike conduct against Ginebra, and was caught on camera shouting “Japan, Japan” – alluding to leaving the PBA for the Japanese pro league – and threatening to leave Magnolia after being ejected from the game.

Last December 23, 2023, Abueva scrapped with fellow notorious instigator Alec Stockton of Converge, giving the young guard a hip bump in the post and retaliating with a shove after Stockton responded to the initial bump by throwing the ball at Abueva’s feet.

Less than two weeks later on January 6, Abueva was at it again in a Magnolia-Meralco match in Iloilo City, rising from a ball scramble with Shonn Miller and bumping bodies with the Bolts’ import while taunting, causing both teams to jump in and separate the two.

Abueva’s most egregious on-court offense, however came in June 2019, as he brutally clotheslined former TNT import Terrence Jones in emphatic retaliation to an earlier low blow by the former NBA standout.

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Domestic abuse allegations

Even off the court, Abueva could not escape controversy as in July 2019, mere weeks after being suspended indefinitely for his obscene gestures to Maika Rivera and clothesline to Terrence Jones, Abueva’s wife Sam accused the mercurial star of domestic abuse to her and their children.

Although Abueva denied the claims and he and his wife later reconciled, the allegations were just another damaging blow to an already cracked reputation, and it would take 16 whole months before the PBA lifted its suspension on the one-time league champion and allow him to return to play.

Leash the beast?

Despite every offense, fine, and suspension that have stained what was a stellar basketball career, Abueva still could not fully escape his hotheaded tendencies, whether in an instigating or retaliatory capacity, as recent evidence showed.

So with Abueva once again under intense scrutiny from the public and the PBA, league commissioner Willie Marcial warned the Magnolia veteran that more court troubles may result in a repeat ban

But only time – and Abueva himself – can tell if “The Beast” will ever be fully tamed. –

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