In San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua’s eyes, Calvin Abueva is the 2020 Samboy Lim Sportsmanship Awardee.
The straightforward executive said as much, as he’s impressed with how tamed and focused ‘The Beast’ was in the PBA Philippine Cup bubble last year that marked his reinstatement into the league after a 16-month suspension.
Abueva played like he was never out for so long, leading Phoenix Super LPG to its second straight all-Filipino semis for a rousing comeback that also saw him become a candidate for BPC honors and the Sportsmanship Award.
However, the award went to Chua’s own player Scottie Thompson.
Surprisingly, no one voted for Abueva as it was CJ Perez who went number two in the voting, falling to Thompson, 2,069-2,360.
“Kung ako lang papipiliin, kung ako ang boboto, siya ang Sportsmanship ko eh.
“Sabi ko … last bubble maganda naman ang attitude mo, maganda naman ang laro mo, kaya mo pala ng ganun eh. ‘Di ba? Andun pa rin ‘yung laro mo. Actually ang daming bumilib,” Chua told The Chasedown, Saturday.
Abueva’s efforts were aptly rewarded with a max contract but his days as a Fuel Master came to an end in February, when the Dennis Uy-owned franchise traded him to Magnolia for Chris Banchero in a blockbuster deal.
Chua himself was among the first to welcome the 33-year-old in the San Miguel realm, and along with it came his reminders for the new guy on the block.
“Sabi ko, ‘Bata, i-ayos mo buhay mo.’ Dito gaganda buhay mo. Nasa sa’yo ‘yan. Ikaw ang gaganto, ikaw ang susulat, ikaw lahat.
“Pagdating mo sa Magnolia, may sistema na ‘yan. Kahit si Terrence Romeo [alam ‘to na] hindi sila makikisama sa’yo. Back to zero ka rito. Ikaw ang makikisama sa kanila,” he added, referring to Terrence Romeo’s arrival to San Miguel Beer in 2019.
This is now Abueva’s third team after Alaska and Phoenix, and Chua reiterated that he is hoping to see Abueva retire with Magnolia.
“Nag-usap kaming dalawa, sinabi ko sa kanya na, ‘Bata, sa dami mong pinuntahan na team, sa daming nangyari sa buhay mo, tingin ko huling stop mo na ‘to.’ Sabi ko ayusin mo na ‘to, prove mo na kaya mong ayusin.”