Calm, inspired Abueva shows up in 1st game back after 16-month ban
MANILA, Philippines — A cool, calm and collected Calvin Abueva showed up on Monday in only his first game back following a 16-month long suspension.
But make no mistake, he was still the same unrelenting beast.
“It’s really magical that he’s here again,” said Phoenix coach Topex Robinson. “He played his heart out.”
Abueva came off the bench and immediately committed an offensive foul 10 seconds after he checked in.
He also started the game with a couple of misses from the field, but it didn’t take long for him to settle down and get down to business.
“‘Yung expectation na ‘yun, hindi ko masabi eh. Hindi ko rin iniisip. Focused talaga ako this game. First game ko kasi na lalaro in 16 months. Talagang bigay todo ako at dinoble ko ‘yung effort na ‘to para sa team,” said Abueva.
(I never thought about any expectations. I was just really focused on this game because it’s my first game in 16 months. I gave it my all and I doubled my efforts for the team.)
“Ni-remind ko sa sarili ko na papaano ba ako magku-cool down dito sa laro at papaano ako magiging basic sa sarili ko sa ginagawa ko. ‘Yung naiisip ko hindi para sa akin kundi para sa pamilya ko, para sa lola ko, sana medyo mag-grow pa siya at maging malakas sa dinadanasan niya ngayon. Para sa anak ko rin ‘tong ginagawa ko. ‘Yun ‘yung mental ko, kung papaano magiging masaya ang mga anak ko.”
(I reminded myself how to stay cool during the game. I wasn’t thinking about it for myself but for my family, my grandmother, I hope she stays strong. I’m also doing this for my kids. My mindset is on how I’ll be able to make my kids happy.)
Showing no signs of rust, Abueva displayed his typical all-around game but this time, minus the extra-curricular activities.
He finished with 21 points, including the go-ahead basket with 42.4 seconds left, 13 rebounds and seven assists as the Fuel Masters held on to beat the NLEX Road Warriors, 114-110.
The 32-year-old Abueva also had plenty of support from the Fuel Masters on and off the court not only during the game against the Road Warriors but more importantly, throughout the veteran forward’s suspension.
“It’s a blessing to have him there. Actually coming into the game, we really tried to quiet our expectations of Calvin. Everybody was expecting that he’s gonna be all out and loose,” said Robinson, whose squad claimed solo fourth place in the standings with a 4-2 record.
“But at the end of the day, what’s important is we give big support. And I think that’s what he always needed during the year and a half that he was done. We just have to continue supporting Calvin because again, he’s part of us, he’s part of our family, and we’re always going to protect our family. We’re always going to be our brother’s keeper.”
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