Pagbabantay daw kay Abueva kailangang ’24/7’
Aminado si Phoenix Super LPG team manager Paolo Bugia na bagama't naging mabilis ang pangyayari, hindi naging madali ang desisyon para itrade si Calvin Abueva sa Magnolia.
Pero hindi lang naman daw basketball kasi ang kailangang intindihin pagdating kay Abueva.
"I'm sure everyone knows what Calvin has been through this past 20 months, past year and a half as well as the team, what we've been through," ang sabi ni Bugia sa panayan sa Chasedown.
Ang tinutukoy ni Bugia ay ang 16-month suspension na pinagdaanan ni Abueva dahil sa mga gulong kinasangkutan niya sa court.
Todo-suporta raw sila para makabangon si Abueva na kinailangan pang magdaan sa drug test at psychotherapy bago maireinstate sa PBA.
"Through thick and thin, we stood by him. It was our focus to get him back on track and get him reinstated. And it was a very, very long process. It came to a point in the bubble where we finally got him on track, he was reinstated, and we are very happy with what he did and what he was able to accomplish," ani Bugia.
"He won an award, he was part of a team that brought us to the final four and na-nominate pa siya sa Sportsmanship Award. (We were) very proud of him."
Pero nilinaw din ng Fuel Masters team manager na hindi doon nagtatapos ang lahat. Halos round-the-clock umano ang pagbabantay kay Abueva para masigurong mananatili sa ayos ang kanilang premyadong power forward.
“That’s within the team lang na it was a continuous effort, 24/7, to make sure that he was focused, hindi siya bumalik sa dark places that he was in. And even well after the conference, after the bubble conference and into the offseason, continuous ‘yung effort, resources that we put into Calvin,” ang sabi ni Bugia.
“We asked ourselves, was it worth it? Of course. We got a lot of success in the Philippine (Cup) bubble. It was worth that one conference."
Ngunit paliwanag ni Bugia, hindi na naging sigurado ang Phoenix kung kaya pa nilang panatilihin ang ganoong pag-aalaga kay Abueva.
"For a time, I think it was last month, we felt like we are ready to commit and we were ready to build a long-term relationship with him and we signed him for a long-term contract. The decision to sign him was ours and ours alone . . . And we really saw him grow. But then, nandoon pa rin ‘yung time and effort, 24/7," sabi ni Bugia.
Marami na ring team daw nag-alok ng trade para makuha si Abueva, lalo na pagkatapos ng kanyang magandang performance sa bubble.
Pero tinanggihan nilang lahat ng iyon dahil para kanila, "Calvin was still the better choice."
Hanggang dumating ang alok ng Magnolia para itrade sa kanila si Chris Banchero kasama ng dalawang draft picks.
"It’s no secret that Calvin is a very good basketball player, but it’s not just basketball with him. There are a lot of things and everybody knows that. It’s all over social media, it’s all over the news, and all that. And we embraced that for a long time until it fell on our lap the offer of Magnolia," ani Bugia.
“With that offer we got a superstar in his own right in Chris Banchero, something that we needed because we didn’t really have a pure point guard to take the pressure off Matt (Wright) sometimes.
“On top of that, we got a lottery pick, a sixth pick, in some would say the most talent-rich draft. If there was a time that made our decision easier, nagkataon it was this year that we made the decision to move forward and we finally focus on basketball (without) the extra baggage so to speak.”
Naging mabilis lang daw ang usapan dahil talagang tamang-tama lang sa kanila ang naging alok ng Hotshots.
"It was a very quick deal. When the offer came to our lap, walang masyadong usap-usap. There was no long incubation period, and no one got wind of it. I would say within the week, we were made aware of the offer, got the approval (from the higher-ups), got the thoughts of our coaches . . . When everything was OK, we consumated it," ang pahayag ni Bugia.
Sinabi pa ng team manager na maging si Abueva, nauunawaan ang kanilang sitwasyon.
“As a consolation, we know that Calvin is going to a good team and we wish him the best of luck. Everybody loves the popular team of Magnolia. So we know that he is in good hands with that franchise,” aniya.
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