JUST when it looked like Calvin Abueva’s road back to the PBA was nearing its end, along came a bump.
Still, an insider considers the glitch a “minor one,” adding the mercurial player known as “The Beast” is only a couple more steps away from having his PBA-imposed indefinite suspension lifted.
“Internal matter kasi iyon,” said the source, referring to Abueva playing in a “larong labas” a couple of weeks back in Laguna.
Magnolia’s Jio Jalalon and Alaska’s Vic Manuel also played in the same mini-tournament, earning them week-long suspensions from their respective teams.
Commissioner Willie Marcial has already reprimanded the Hotshot guard and Aces forward.
Abueva’s case is up to Phoenix management, according to the insider.
“Kung nakakuha siya ng permiso mula sa Phoenix, then walang problem,” the insider explained.
“Kung hindi, doon magkakaroon ng problema kasi technically under contract pa rin siya.”
In a separate interview late last week, Fuel Masters coach Louie Alas admitted Abueva asked permission from him. “Ang sabi ko, sa mga bossing siya magpaalam. Hindi ko lang alam kung ginawa niya iyon,” related Alas.
News of the incident broke out after Marcial said Abueva needs to fulfill two more requirements before he raises his recommendation to the PBA board for the forward’s reinstatement.
The same insider said those conditions are mainly about Abueva undergoing psychological assessment, particularly centering on his anger management issues.
Marcial, however, did not openly specify what Abueva needs to do next. “Hangga’t maaari, ‘di ko sasabihin kung anong pinapagawa ko sa kanya … Pero nasa second stage na kami,” he said during the league’s Media Day at the Okada Manila last Thursday.
“Gawin na nating tatlong stage kasi hati ‘yung second stage. ‘Pag natapos ‘yun, ire-recommend ko sa governors kung ano recommendation ko. Aabisuhan ko rin governors natin.”
Marcial’s refusal to delve into the details of the required requirements is his way of protecting the player.
“‘Yun ang sabi ko sa kanya — ‘poprotektahan kita. Kung ikaw mismo ang gustong magsabi, so be it’,” he explained.
“Pero ako, ‘di ako magsasabi. Pinoprotektahan ko si Calvin kasi ‘di lang naman natin player ‘yan. Tinuturing kong kaibigan at malapit sa akin si Calvin,” added Marcial.
Abueva was suspended last June due to two successive incidents in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup’s.