TAIPEI - The second half was well underway yet Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin's attention wasn't on the game, kneeling on the sidelines and completely locked in on Calvin Abueva who, in turn, was all ears.
The education of Abueva continues.
By now, Baldwin is well aware and thankful for all the energy, points, rebounds and the intangibles the enigmatic Alaska forward can bring to games, but he is not ready to loosen the reins on 'The Beast.' At least not yet.
For Baldwin also knows that there is a flipside to all the positives Abueva brings to games, which comes in the form of a wild streak that often leads to turnovers, poor decisions and unnecessary fouls, lots of them in fact.
"We have to keep working with him about being patient," said Baldwin when asked what he was trying to drive home to Abueva on the sidelines in the middle of Gilas' game against New Zealand on Friday afternoon.
"He's still a feast or famine guy for us, and we don't want that," the American-New Zealander added. "We want consistency. He consistently gives great effort but not consistent decisions."
That's the reason Baldwin is still very careful picking spots where he plays his energetic forward.
Take the New Zealand game, for example. Abueva picked up two quick fouls the moment he came in late in the first quarter and rode the bench for a long time, not coming back until the fourth quarter.
There's no doubt Abueva changes the complexion of games each time he's on the floor, Baldwin was told.
"But sometimes in the wrong way," he responded.
Against New Zealand, it was the other way around. Abueva changed the tempo the moment he stepped on the floor against a Kiwi side that is more comfortable playing half court - and it eventually tipped the scales.
By the time Abueva was done, the former San Sebastian Stags star had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting to go with 10 rebounds in just a little over 11 minutes on the floor in the 92-88 overtime victory over the Kiwis, numbers that make you forget that he also had three turnovers and four fouls.
"There are some situations and some scenarios where - for now - I still don't want to use him," Baldwin said. "It's the fouls, adjusting from the PBA tactics to the international game. That's part of the things he has to learn.
"He belongs in this national team for all the positives he brings to us, but we have to be careful how we use him because you can't be high risk," Baldwin added.