Gilas new boy Calvin Abueva eager to test himself against international competition
Calvin Abueva is excited to play his first games for Gilas overseas. Snow Badua

CALVIN Abueva is set to play in his first games overseas for Gilas Pilipinas and he can't hide his excitement as he prepares to measure himself against international competition.

On a six-hour layover in Istanbul, Turkey as Gilas Pilipinas makes the trip for a pocket tournament in Estonia, the Alaska forward told he looks forward to showing the world what Pinoy basketball is all about.

“Excited na 'ko. Super. Gusto kong matuto sa b'yahe na ito,” said Abueva, in bright mood despite lack of sleep. “Gusto ko ring ipakita sa kanila ang larong Pinoy. Baka kasi akala nila porke't maliit tayo eh hindi tayo marunong. Alam mo naman battlecry natin, puso. 'Yan ang ipapakita natin dun.”

[See Jet lag the biggest enemy as Gilas arrives in Estonia for training, games]

The former San Sebastian star failed to join previous editions of Gilas, but insisted he is excited to fly the flag in a commitment he hopes to culminate with a stint in the Fiba Asia Championship in Changsha, China next month.

“One hundred and fifty percent ready na 'ko. Excited na nga ako eh. Pagkakataon ko to para ipakita sa mga kababayan natin na proud tayo lumaro para sa bansa natin,” said the Aces star.

They Said It!

Make Pilipinas proud, The Beast!" - Mark Anthony Rosario 

Gilas coach Tab Baldwin said Abueva truly represents Pilipinas basketball because of the heart, tenacity and flair he shows on the court.

“At some degree, I think yeah, he does. He certainly has that buzzed up flair and also that little bit of wildness about the way that he plays. That’s a typical street player all over the world, but there’s more of them here in the Philippines,” said Baldwin.

“Calvin has that X-factor and he has tremendous confidence in himself. But you know, he is going to get a healthy dose of discipline and I hope he adopts a lot of that and becomes more self-disciplined in the way that he plays the game. It will be to our advantage and to his advantage,” he added.

Asked if Abueva will be up to that challenge, Baldwin is positive.

“I think so (he’s up to it). I am not making any final conclusions right now but so far, so good,” said Baldwin.

Gilas pool member JC Intal said Abueva's energy is infectious in practice, adding the former PBA Rookie of the Year has become more vocal both in practice and during huddles.


They Said It!

Great to hear, Calvin. Your game would improve tremendously once exposed to the international game. Look at gilas 1.0 and 2.0 members before and after their stints. Nag-level up laro nila, right? Look at Junemar." - gaubanx

“Iba ang energy ni Calvin. Day by bay, pareho ang energy niya, nakakahawa eh,” said Intal. “He gives the team a lot of positives. Intensity siya sa offense and defense. Ngayon nga napapansin ko, he talks on defense and very vocal siya sa teammates. Magandang senyales 'yun para sa team."

[See Two fast, two furious: Abueva and Romeo pick up pace, energy for Gilas]

Abueva said he is gladdened by the positive response of fans to his Gilas stint.

“Ang dami ko nga natatanggap na papuri at nakakatuwang message sa kanila. Ang saya ko. Nakaka-inspire pang lalo,” said Abueva, one of the pro league's most controversial players.

“Ramdam mo yung pagmamahal nila eh. Masaya ako kasi na-invite ako sa Gilas ngayon.”

Abueva also took time to declare that all accounts on Facebook and Twitter under his name are fake. The former NCAA MVP said he only has one social media account and that is his @calvin.abueva0708 account on Instagram.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @snowbadua