ANTIPOLO – It was, without a shadow of a doubt, a dark time in his PBA career, but Calvin Abueva couldn’t be any more grateful that it happened.
Although he had to serve the longest banishment ever imposed by the league, the ‘Beast’ said that it only helped a great deal in terms of realignment and, of course, rediscovering his purpose in life — on and off the court.
“Actually, mas napaganda,” said the Magnolia forward.
“Naging prepared ako sa pagbalik ko. Naayos ko lahat ng mga gusot.”
It has been two years since Abueva got reinstated in the league following a 16-month suspension, and he’s now reaping the benefits of the time away from the game that led him to become a better version of himself.
Proof of it has been the accolades and milestones he’s achieved, the first of which, of course, was his 2021 Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference (BPC) coronation after helping the Hotshots return to the Finals.
And this season, the Kapampangan cager has written his name in the league’s history books yet again through a pair of career feats.
Four months after becoming the 50th player to collect 1,000 career offensive rebounds, Abueva on Wednesday joined the 5,000-point club in Magnolia’s 110-95 victory over the also-ran Blackwater in the Governors’ Cup.
The two-time BPC is the 96th member of the elite group, 91st among locals, and the ninth to achieve as much after Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera, James Yap, Kerby Raymundo, PJ Simon, Marc Pingris, Paul Lee, and Mark Barroca.
A sentimental Abueva simply felt thankful that all his efforts have paid off following yet another career achievement.
“Papasalamat ako na na-achieve ko,” he said after the game at the Ynares Center here. “Lahat ng effort at ginagawa ko, ayun, nagkabunga.”
Then again, like what he had always said in the past whenever he nets individual success, championships matter the most for Abueva.
“Hindi ko inaano ‘yung individual, ang inaano ko kung paano kami mapupunta sa [playoff] series — hanggang sa semis, Finals, at makuha namin ‘yung championship,” said the 35-year-old, who had 27 points and 13 rebounds.
“Kasi ‘yung individual, it’s a bonus lang,” he added.
“Mas malaking bagay ‘yung effort kung yung team mo makakapunta sa top. Yun yung pinaka-the best.”
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.