For Calvin Abueva, no amount of individual awards can satisfy his hunger for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) title.
According to Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero, the 33-year-old forward remains focused on his goal of finally winning his first PBA crown in eight years.
Victolero said he is very impressed with how Abueva is rallying the Hotshots, who will try to repeat over TNT Tropang Giga to equalize their best-of-seven finals series at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga on Wednesday, 27 October.
“Calvin is doing very well. He is really proving that he is an all-around player by playing offense and defense,” said Victolero, whose wards pulled off a 106-98 victory in Game 3 over the weekend to cut the Tropang Giga series deficit to 1-2.
“He is our leader and energy guy. He is giving his best effort every time, all the points and the hustle.”
Despite a grueling finals series against the Tropang Giga, the 6-foot-3 forward became the Hotshots’ steadiest weapon on both ends, putting him in a great position to win the Davco-PBA Best Player of the Conference (BPC) award.
Logging a double-double performance of 12 points and 10 rebounds in the finals, the former San Sebastian standout became Magnolia’s main anchor after Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang were hobbled by injuries since the start of the series.
Abueva, who won his first BPC honor in 2016 with Alaska, has a good chance of lifting his second BPC plaque after leading the race with 34.2 statistical points (SPs) at the end of the semifinals.
Joining him in the derby is Sangalang, who placed second with 33.0 SPs while TNT rookie Mikey Williams is at close third with 32.0 SPs.
Regardless of the accusations being thrown to Abueva and his teammates’ intense physicality against TNT, Victolero assured that the energetic forward is never affected and even became more fired up to prove himself in the court, especially now that the series is on the line.
“The most important thing now is he is bringing more toughness to the team. There is nothing that we should worry about,” Victolero said.