EVEN Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes is wondering where Calvin Abueva is.
“Where in the world is Calvin Abueva again? I think even his mother team is having problem with him now,” the national coach said at the end of Gilas practice at the Meralco Gym on Monday night.
The energetic Kapampangan forward has made himself scarce since participating in the PBA All-Star festivities, missing Alaska's game in the Commissioner's Cup last Saturday and not showing up for practices.
Reyes said he also hasn’t heard from Abueva since the league’s midseason festivities, but made it clear the Aces star remains part of the Gilas pool, same as the others who have yet to show up for the team’s Monday practices.
This is not the first time Abueva has gone AWOL.
The first time he disappeared last year, the former NCAA MVP was dropped from consideration by Reyes for the second window of the Fiba World Cup qualifiers, only to be recalled later.
“Wala na kaming tinatanggal sa pool eh. There are just people who, if they are not able to come and all that, then obviously they’re not going to be in consideration for the next window or for the next 12,” he said.
“Wala naman talaga tayong tinatanggal as officially removed from the pool. That’s why it’s good to have the pool system.”
However, attendance remains an issue for Gilas with a little less than a month left to prepare for the third window of the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.
That’s why Reyes was forced to recall Baser Amer for the night’s session to bolster the backcourt rotation following Kevin Alas’ ACL injury and Kiefer Ravena’s 18-month doping ban.
Forced once again to work around the situation he’s in, Reyes couldn't emphasize enough to the players present on Monday the importance of commitment, especially in this new home-and-away qualifying format.
“Like I told them kanina, what we’re learning in this format, is it’s a real test of commitment. This is unlike if you go out and play in a tournament and you know that you’re going out in one place for five, six, or seven games and you’re able to condition your mind for it. And then you can think of other things after the tournament,” he said.
“With this kind of format, hindi ganoon eh. Right now, everyone is in the thick of their mother teams' campaigns in the PBA. But like I told them, I hope they reserve a place in their heart for the program.”
Gilas takes on Chinese Taipei in Taiwan on June 29 before flying back home and facing Australia at Philippine Arena on July 2 - and that's all Reyes can focus on right now.
“Right now, the only thing we want to think of is that next game against Chinese Taipei. That’s the most important thing,” he said.