Phoenix Super LPG is ready to gamble on Calvin Abueva when the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup resumes on 9 October.
Team manager Paolo Bugia said they have included the fiery forward in their 15-man roster despite having no assurance that he would be reinstated to see action the PBA bubble in Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.
Abueva already completed all requirements for his reinstatement, but PBA commissioner Willie Marcial has yet to formally lift his indefinite suspension that has been dragging for more than a year.
“We’re definitely putting him on the roster with the hopes of bringing him there, but we’re hopeful that commissioner, before the opening on 9 October, will get him reinstated,” Bugia said in a telephone interview.
“We’re taking that risk and we’re optimistic because it’s been a long time coming and we’ve seen the changes in Calvin both on and off the court. Hopefully, the commissioner will reconsider his reinstatement.”
Bugia said Abueva is worth the roster spot.
“I think based on the rules of the league, once we decided not to reinstate Calvin, we cannot bring in another player,” Bugia said.
“So, we will have to live with it, but we’re talking the risk because I think he’s worth it.”
Even with Abueva staying suspended, the Fuel Masters still have a loaded frontcourt in Jason Perkins, JC Intal, Jake Pascual, Alex Mallari, Justin Chua and Dave Marcelo.
“As of now, we will stick with the current team because it’s a short-term plan,” Bugia said.
“But if he does get reinstated, that’s going to be a huge factor for us.”