GILAS Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin is hoping Calvin Abueva will learn better to play in a position that suits his size in the international level.
The national coach earlier explained that he cut the Aces star along with LA Tenorio for their lack of height, more than how they fared during practices and tune-up games in the three-week European training camp.
“It’s not a question of what Calvin or LA didn’t do,” Baldwin insisted. “It’s more a question of what type of player they are today.”
“And hopefully, particularly in Calvin’s case, he’ll continue to evolve as a player as he has in the last two years and really develop the guard skills that he needs to play at this level,” he added.
Standing just 6’1” 1/2, Abueva thrived as a playmaking power forward in college at San Sebastian, before learning to slide to the small forward since last year with Alaska.
While Abueva can dominate in his position in the PBA, Baldwin is encouraging the 28-year-old cager to embrace being a two-guard especially in overseas play.
“Against this level of competition, he’s only a shooting guard at best,” Baldwin said of Abueva, who can hit the occasional three-pointer. “Right now, with the type of players we’re playing against, we have a better fit.”
Still, Baldwin is not discounting the heart that Abueva brings. That’s why he understands the rage from Abueva’s fans over his exclusion from the final roster.
“I understand that Calvin has a passionate following. There’s no question about that,” Baldwin said. “People love him because he’s so representative of the Philippine way of playing basketball.”