PBA: Calvin Abueva as team chef? Phoenix coach says ‘Beast’ relishes new role

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 15 2020 11:35 PM

Phoenix's Calvin Abueva goes to the hoop in a game against Alaska. File photo. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- The Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters continue to impress in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, taking down NorthPort Batang Pier in their second game of the conference on Thursday night.

Behind a combined 54 points from Jason Perkins and Matthew Wright, the Fuel Masters held off the Batang Pier, 110-105, to improve to 2-0.

It's not yet time to celebrate. According to head coach Topex Robinson, Wright was quick to remind them after the result that there was more left for the Fuel Masters to achieve. 

"Obviously, it's nice," said Robinson of their current spotless slate. "But just like what Matt told me… don't celebrate. So I'm gonna take it from our leader not to celebrate because again, we deserve more."

"We wanna be hungry for more. Complacency killed the cat and we don't wanna be that victim. So we're gonna compete," he added.

A celebration might not be on the cards for Phoenix, but there will surely be time for the team to share a meal after their triumph. The Fuel Masters are already looking forward to their post-game dinner, wherein food will be served by none other than "The Beast," Calvin Abueva.

The embattled forward has yet to be reinstated by the PBA, but he is inching closer and closer to his return after completing the requirements of the Games and Amusements Board. 

In the meantime, he is finding ways to help his team inside the Clark bubble.

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"We know that may masarap na luto pag-uwi namin ng hotel," said Robinson. "Kakatukin niya kami sa mga room namin dahil yun ang trabaho niya ngayon eh." 

"Siya na lang 'yung magluluto ng dinner and he's excited. Naka-ready na yung mga luto niya doon eh," he added.

Aside from showing off his culinary skills, Abueva also gives them an extra jolt of energy in practice. The forward has been allowed to train with the team even as he completed his requirements for reinstatement. Robinson has been all praises for how he elevates the team's performance in that regard.

"He brings so much energy in practice. Just like what I said, nagko-coach sa practice. Sabi ko, 'Maglaro ka muna, wag mo muna ako tanggalan ng trabaho.' But that's what he does," he said. "Lahat ng pwede niyang maitulong off the court ginagawa niya." 

While they surely want Abueva to join them in an official capacity, Robinson said the team will maintain its focus on their games. Phoenix has already taken a share of the lead in the conference, tying TNT Tropang Giga at the top of the table with their 2-0 slate.

"Obviously, it's always nice to have a Calvin Abueva on your team, but this is not just about Calvin," said Robinson. "It's about everybody." 

"One guy is just a piece of the whole. And again, we're excited to see him back. We hope that he'll be back and he's gonna bring so much energy, but we're also happy that we're winning while waiting for Calvin to return," he added. "And hopefully he's gonna return soon."

Abueva was suspended in June 2019, after a series of on-court incidents that culminated in his ejection from a Commissioner's Cup game against TNT.