By: Justin Valencia
Pampanga has always been one of the top breeding grounds for prodigies in the basketball-crazy Philippines.
And Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters star Calvin Abueva is a living testament to how Pampanga became one of the most prominent provinces when it comes to basketball talents.
“Sa Pampanga, iba ang laro,” said Abueva in Tiebreaker Vods’ 2OT, presented by SMART Sports last June 13.
The 6-foot-2 fiery cager shared the types of play he experienced back in his hometown, which made him the player he is right now.
“Yung mga nakakalaro ko sa liga sa Pampanga… Na-experience ko naman ‘yung mga pisikal na beterano dito sa amin. Kung papaano makipag-pisikalan, paano ka makipag-asaran, paano makipag-banggaan.
“Doon ko na-experience sa sarili ko na kaya ko pala (makipagsabayan),” said The Beast, the monicker he earned for his style of play.
Thanks to long-time basketball patron and Pampanga Governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda, the man behind the massive grassroots program of the province, the Angeles native rose to prominence.
Besides Abueva, other notable players from the province already in the PBA are Arwind Santos and Ian Sangalang, among many others.
And Pineda loves to watch his discoveries battle it out in Asia’s first play-for-pay league finals for bragging rights.
“Binabase ni Gov sa finals, hindi sa elimination. Mas maganda niyang pinapanood in the finals ‘yung dalawang bata niya nandoon, naglalaban” Abueva shared.
“Kaya masaya ako na nakasama ko siya at nakuha niya ako sa team niya noon, at naibigay ko naman ang best ko para sa kanya.”