FOR Topex Robinson, trading Calvin Abueva was a move that had to be made, not only to put an “adopted son” in a better position to realize what he covets most, but also to fulfill a promise.
“Obviously, it is surprising after what we’ve been through together,” the Phoenix Super LPG coach told Malaya-Business Insight hours after news of Abueva going to Magnolia came out last Wednesday.
“Kung may anak ka, you want… kung ano mas maganda para sa anak mo you will do it.
Calvin knows this,” Robinson said, adding he was merely living up to a vow he had made to the player.
“Prior to him entering the (Philippine Cup) bubble (in Clark), I made a promise to him that if things will turn out well with him and if may opportunity na — I’m talking about the future — sabi ko, tutulungan ko siya. Mayroon kaming ganoong usapan.
“It happened now, I mean, magiging maganda future niya sa Magnolia. That’s why it happened. So it was not really a surprise between us.”
In a separate interview with Tiebreaker Times’ 2OT podcast on Wednesday night, Abueva said he was grateful to the team that acquired him from Alaska in 2018 and reunited him with Robinson, then chief deputy to Louie Alas.
The player formerly known as “The Beast” was also quick to move on. “Super excited. Gusto ko pang makakuha ng more championships,” he said.
“Sa akin, masakit para iwanan itong Phoenix, pero ang ikinaganda naman nito napunta ako sa magandang puwesto. Iyon naman ang mismong ikinatuwa ko,” added Abueva while vowing to double his efforts for the Hotshots’ forthcoming campaigns and hit his personal target.
“Nakaka-isa pa lang akong championship. Gusto ko pa more.”
If that happens, none should be happier for Abueva than Robinson, who has nurtured the unpredictable forward since their days with San Sebastian in the NCAA.
That bond grew even more when Abueva was suspended in July last year, with Robinson helping him get through what would turn out to be a 16-month ordeal.
“Kasi he was hopeless. Tingin niya walang mangyayari, kasi may request ang PBA kaya ang tagal. May mga bagay siya na kailangang gawin against his will,” related Robinson.
“I had to convince him to do the process with the hope that everything will turn out well. It turned out great because he got to play.”
Abueva churned out averages of 15.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.7 steals in the Clark bubble as the Fuel Masters got as far as the semifinals.
“I’m just fulfilling that commitment to him, na bibigyan ko siya ng magandang kapalit sa ginawa niya. He was reinstated and he made a name for himself again,” related Robinson
“So na-fulfill iyon and now I’m doing my best para gawin ‘yung sinabi ko sa kanya, to put him in a better position,” added Robinson. “The opportunity presented itself, management also approved of that, so it finally happened.”
Robinson’s task now is to prove that the move is the right one for him and Phoenix.
“Obviously, there are those who would say: ‘Bakit ganito? Lopsided…. I mean, there are things that people outside of our circle don’t know. I don’t have to plead my case to everybody. For me, it’s the best for everybody.
“I have to make tough decisions, unpopular decisions. In the future, this will all work out.
We have to take risks, no guarantee.”
One thing is for sure, the bond between the two will remain.
“Bilog ang mundo. I mean, we might be separated sa trabaho pero the personal relationship has always been there, it’s not gonna fade,” said Robinson.”Iyon naman ang importante sa amin. What I can guarantee is that his future is bright with Magnolia.”