There really is no other way to describe the reunion between Calvin Abueva and long-time mentor Topex Robinson in Phoenix Super LPG. The two have parted ways once more following a shocking trade Wednesday.
The Fuel Masters have let go of the 33-year-old by trading him to Magnolia for Chris Banchero and a pair of 2021 draft picks. This marks the end of his two-year stay with the franchise, which he helped reach new heights.
“Siyempre, mami-miss ko,” Abueva said, referring to Robinson in a guest appearance in 2OT, presented by SMART.
Their bond is beyond special. It goes back to 2011 in San Sebastian College-Recoletos, when Robinson inherited a Stags team bannered by the Pinatubo Trio of Abueva, Ian Sangalang, and Ronald Pascual.
A year later, the two were back together in Alaska, who picked the former NCAA MVP at second overall. They went on to enjoy success together in their first year, winning the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup title.
Robinson, however, would leave in 2017, as he went with then-Aces lead assistant Louie Alas to Phoenix. Alas had taken over the team’s head coaching reins following the resignation of Ariel Vanguardia.
But fate really has its ways. Abueva reunited once more with his college coach after his trade from the Uytengsu-owned franchise to the Fuel Masters for Karl Dehesa and a 2019 first-round pick late in 2018.
Magic then happened, with them working hand-in-hand anew. Phoenix reached the semis for the first time in team history in the 2019 Philippine Cup. Then repeated the feat the next season in the same conference.
But the two did not just share triumphs. Robinson was there by Abueva’s side in what was easily the lowest point of the Kapampangan star’s career – his suspension for 16 months due to a string of on-court issues.
The 45-year-old tactician even broke into tears during a post-game press conference last bubble season, as he expressed how tough was it for him not to have one of his “sons” play due to his suspension.
Abueva, at that time, was only allowed to join Phoenix in practices. But days after that emotional presser, he was finally reinstated, ending the longest banishment ever imposed by the league.
“Simula college, bonding namin ni Coach Topex, iba. At napunta sa Alaska, iba. At napunta dito sa Phoenix, iba,” he said.
Their reunion may have been brief, but as the saying goes, it is not really ‘goodbye’ but rather ‘see you soon’. And Abueva very much looks forward to meeting Robinson on the hardwood soon.
“Mapang-asar ako na ano eh. Siguro kapag naglaban kami, hindi pwedeng hindi ko asarin ito,” he said with a chuckle.
“‘Wag lang ako aabangan sa labas.”