The past few weeks have been rough for Alaska Aces star Calvin Abueva’s personal life. He even had to ditch the Milkmen for one game — last Saturday against the Blackwater Elite — just to attend to certain issues personally.
“Parang yung nangyari sa akin in the past three weeks, na-ano ako, sobrang lungkot ko, yung nangyari sa family ko, nangyari sa akin,” recalled the Beast.
But on Wednesday night, as the Aces took on the Phoenix Fuel Masters at the Mall of Asia Arena, the 29-year-old wingman was all smiles. He was visibly rejuvenated, as if he hadn’t been hounded by huge problems just mere days ago.
And there was also a major change within the six-year pro: he had ditched his jersey number 8 — which he had been using since his San Sebastian days — for the number 88.
“Pinalitan ko yung number ko ng 88 kaya the Beast 2.0.
“Pinakita ko, pinanindigan ko sa sarili ko na kaya ko ‘to lusutan,” Abueva explained.
His jersey number switch seemingly brought straight right away. The Milkmen won in convincing fashion, 93-75, for their fifth straight victory — their best winning streak since the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup.
The Kapampangan cager made his presence felt strongly in the triumph, powering the Aces with a solid performance of 21 points on 47 percent shooting, on top of a game-high 15 rebounds and four steals.
“88, hindi mababago yan. Ang ganda ng number ko ngayon at pinakita ko, sana magtuluy-tuloy,” said Abueva.
“Kaya kinuha ko yung 88 para 2018, the best part of my life, kahit hindi na sa lovelife.”
In a matter of days — on February 4, to be exact — Abueva will turn 30 years old. With that, he hopes that he and the Aces will be able to sustain their momentum, as they now gun for their ultimate dream: winning the Philippine Cup.
“Masayang-masaya ako ngayon, lalo na itong kaarawan ko nitong Sunday against Global[Port], sana tuluy-tuloy yung pinakita ko ngayon,” said the Gilas Pilipinas cager. “Sana maging tuluy-tuloy itong nilalaro kong to.
“At [sana] makapasok kami sa Finals, makuha na namin ‘tong championship na to.”