Time and again, Calvin Abueva has insisted that the upcoming 2020 PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series between Phoenix Super LPG and TNT will never be about him and Ray Parks. It will always be a battle between two teams.
The forward nicknamed the ‘Beast’ said as much during a guest appearance in the Sports Page program, Monday — just a few days before the Fuel Masters and the Tropang Giga begin their best-of-five clash.
“Hindi naman sa’kin o sa kanya. Laban ng team ‘to.
“At ako, sa isyu na ‘yun, move on na. Wala nang dahilan para balik-balikan. Sa series na ‘to, team naman ang naglalabanan, hindi naman individual,” he said.
The two made headlines earlier this month when Parks denied the words he allegedly told the 32-year-old, who told the same program that he and Parks had a brief talk inside the bubble and apologized for his actions last year.
Abueva had a spat with Parks’ girlfriend last year that allegedly involved lewd gestures — one of the reasons why the league decided to suspend him indefinitely in June of last year.
Now, the recently-reinstated cager doesn’t want to look back and discuss the past anymore. Instead, he remains focused on helping the Fuel Masters make their playoff run inside the bubble deeper.
“As long as sino maganda nilalaro, yun ang aangat.
“Sa akin I’ll give my best dito sa team para makaangat kami ng Finals,” said Abueva, who last played in the Big Dance in 2016 when he was still with the Alaska Aces.
Game One of the series is on Wednesday, which also marks Abueva’s first on-court meeting with Parks. Moreover, he will play against the team he last fought before his banishment.
The Tropang Giga will be entering that match with the advantage after giving the Fuel Masters a harsh 110-91 beating during their elimination round meeting last Oct. 20. There, seven players scored in twin digits in the win.
Phoenix, meanwhile, only had top gunner Matthew Wright as their main source of offense with 31 points. Sophomore Jorey Napoles was the only other double-digit scorer, with 10 in that stinging defeat.
But the flagship MVP Group franchise will face a different Fuel Masters side this time around with the addition of Abueva, who believes that he can spell the difference for the energy and effort he provides his squad.
“Oo, malaking diperensiya. ‘Yung energy na binibigay ko sa team, iba eh. Hindi rin ako more on points eh — ang ginagawa ko hustle, assists, rebounds. That’s the extra effort para sa’kin,” said the eight-year pro.
“Para rin sa mga teammate ko. Kung sino malibre, pupukol lang. Basta kumpleto kami ngayon. Nandiyan si Alex [Mallari], ako. At magiging masaya ‘tong series na ‘to para sa’min.”