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Marcial all praises for Abueva transformation

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial raved about the positive change he saw in Calvin Abueva after the star forward successfully turned his career around from a lengthy suspension.

Suspended for 16 months, Abueva returned in the middle of the previous Philippine Cup and helped transform Phoenix into a title contender.

"I'm really happy about Calvin," Marcial said in Filipino in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum. "His physicality was still there, but he did not try to get under opponents' skin."

"When a player falls down, no matter if it is his teammate or not, he helps."

The PBA cracked the whip on Abueva following back-to-back on-court incidents – when he cursed and made obscene gestures toward a fan and clotheslined former TNT import Terrence Jones.

Abueva paid the price for his antics, serving one of the longest suspensions in PBA history.

But Abueva proved to be a changed man on the court as he notably kept his emotions in check in intense situations.

Abueva helped Phoenix return to the quarterfinals after a two-conference playoff drought and the team almost reached the finals for the first time in franchise history but fell short to TNT in the semifinals.

In 12 games, Abueva averaged 15.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.7 steals, finishing just behind Ray Parks in the statistical points race for the Best Player of the Conference award.

"You will see that if he concentrates on the game, he is capable of having a triple-double, scoring 20 points and above, and tallying double digits in rebounds," Marcial said.

"[Calvin] has improved a lot. He is exceptional." – 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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