Energetic Abueva brings his ‘beast mode’ to the PBABy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines—Calvin Abueva played like the best collegiate player that he is Friday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
But only this time, the indefatigable Abueva—dubbed as ‘The Beast’—was making his debut with Alaska in the tougher pro ranks.
Abueva brought to the table what he did best in the NCAA—a dominating performance, providing the jolt in the Aces’ 88-86 victory over Petron Blaze.
“It’s just nice to have him. He brings so much to our team, energy wise. It’s nakakahawa (contagious),” said Alaska head coach Luigi Trillo.
And Trillo was wise let that energy of Abueva—which has always carried him in the NCAA—unleashed in his debut.
“I just let him be Calvin,” said Trillo, who barely took Abueva out of the game in the second half. “He’s going to be the backbone of this franchise.”
“I think he can thrive in both the open court and structured offense,” added Trillo, who even called Abueva an ‘Energizer Bunny.’
Abueva, just a few days removed from a heartbreaking ending with San Sebastian in the semifinals, delivered on his first night by pulling down crucial boards and being all over the court.
The rookie collected 12 points and 16 rebounds against two of the best big men in the league—Jay Washingon and Arwind Sanots—at the end of the night.
“Sinabi ko lang sa sarili ko na kung ano pinakita ko nung college, d-doblehin ko pa (I told myself what I gave when I was in college, I’ll double the effort),” said Abueva, a native of Pampanga.
“Pinaghandaan ko na rin yung katawan ko para sa banggaan dito (I prepared my body for the clashes here),” Abueva added.
Abueva has always played big as he repeatedly beat bulkier and taller guys to crucial rebounds and tip-ins, as he showed in the 4:28 mark in the fourth quarter.
“People don’t realize that he’s 6’1, and he’s playing against guys who are 6’5 and 6’6,” said Trillo.
But Friday night was just a start of a long, gruelling career in the PBA for Abueva, but at least he got off to an energetic start.