Phoenix coach confident Abueva returning soon

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    THE flame of hope that Calvin Abueva’s PBA return would be sooner than later burns brightly for Phoenix Super LPG coach Louie Alas.

    In fact, Alas hinted the suspended forward is close to fulfilling all that is required of him by PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and could rejoin the Fuel Masters once the Philippine Cup resumes, as it is hoped, by September.

    “Feeling ko, makakahabol naman.  Kasi desidido naman iyung mama na gawin lahat ng gustong ipagawa ni Commissioner,” Alas told Malaya-Business Insight. “Sana huwag nang masyadong pahirapan kasi iyung tao naman nagpupursigi.” Marcial slapped Abueva with a P20,000 fine and an indefinite suspension on June 4 last year in the wake of back-to-back incidents with then Blackwater Elite Bobby Ray Parks Jr.’s girlfriend and TNT import Terrence Jones.

    The do-it-all but temperamental forward has since completed most of the prerequisites laid down by Marcial for the suspension to be lifted and was given permission last September to rejoin Phoenix’s practices.

    The only remaining hurdle for Abueva is a psychological evaluation, particularly anger management counseling.

    In last Tuesday’s online PSA Forum, Marcial said the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that left Luzon and other parts of the country under quarantine stalled the psychological process.

    “Na-hold dahil sa COVID,” Marcial said. “Siguro dahan-dahan na magagawa niya ‘yung mga requirements namin. The sooner, the better.”

    Once the last requirement is completed, Marcial said he will make a decision on Abueva.

    Alas said Abueva should have finished what was asked of him if not for the pandemic that forced the PBA to shut down last March and forced most of the population to stay home.

    “Naka-ilang sessions na siya (Abueva), biglang na-quarantine. Tapos lahat,” related Alas.

    The usually soft-spoken coach begged off from relaying how many sessions Abueva had completed as well as the total number required. But a team insider offered Abueva is almost halfway done.

    “Alam ko, dalawa o tatlo, I’m not sure,” bared the source. “Anim yata iyon.”

    Metro Manila being among the places under the more lax general community quarantine starting June 1 should help Abueva resume his therapeutic sessions. But there’s a slight problem, the source added.

    “Ang mabigat noon, iyung nag-pa-facilitate ng mga sessions niya, matanda. Baka di pa payagang mag-trabaho,” said the source.

    Alas said Abueva regularly gives him some update. “Hindi naikukuwento ni Calvin, pero nahihirapan daw siya, ang haba,” said the coach. “Sabi ko sa kanya, tiis-tiisin na niya kasi iyan na lang ang kulang niya.”