CALVIN Abueva will have very little time to shake off the ugly taste of San Sebastian's playoff loss to Letran as he is set to make his pro debut just four days after ending his college career on a disappointing note.
The NCAA star is set to sign a contract with Alaska on Wednesday morning, go straight to the Aces’ two-hour practice at Hoops Gym in Mandaluyong City, then see action on Friday against Petron, according to Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.
Abueva, the 6-foot-1 NCAA superstar, saw his championship dream and a glorious ending to his college career dashed when the Letran Knights overcame the twice-to-beat Stags in the Final Four.
Still, Trillo is convinced a high-energy and highly-motivated player like Abueva can bounce back strong from the painful loss when the second pick overall in the last draft makes his debut against the Boosters.
“Expectations should be tempered right now,” said Trillo, when asked about the Aces’ chances against a Petron squad that will be missing the services of top rookie pick June Mar Fajardo.
“Honestly, I’m excited for Calvin Abueva’s energy. He’s a game-changer,” Trillo told Spin.ph. “No doubt, Calvin can play multiple positions. He’s got a big future with this team.”
Despite the loss to the Knights, Abueva has established himself as one of the best college players in the country, becoming the only player in any of the country's major leagues to lead a season in scoring, assists, and rebounding.
Naturally, Trillo can't wait to unleash 'The Beast.'
"If he plays well especially on the defensive end, I’ll let him stay in the game because we don’t really have that kind of a guy who just gets the rebound, a guy who can play and break down defenses as well,” said Trillo, whose team registered its first win of the season on Sunday via a 102-86 rout of Barako Bull.
Abueva practiced with the Aces only thrice during the offseason, but Trillo said he’ll break in his prized rookie slowly although it depends on how well he could easily adapt to the team’s system.