WHILE San Sebastian star Calvin Abueva has received a lot of flak for punching a Lyceum player in an NCAA game on Thursday, Alaska coach Luigi Trillo wants his rookie to be himself when he joins the Aces.
In short, he wants Calvin to be Calvin.
The reigning NCAA MVP, who has gotten into trouble in the college leagues for his short temper, may just be what the Aces need to shed their 'soft' reputation, Trillo said.
“I think it’s just Calvin’s protective nature that he just doesn’t easily back down. Calvin sure felt sorry for what he did after that punching incident. But that (Abueva’s intensity) is what Alaska needs because we’re too nice. We need to have a guy like Calvin,” Trillo told Spin.ph.
Alaska has been a team in transition the past season following the departure of Tim Cone after 22 years with the Uytengsu-owned franchise and the team has been in search of a player who can best typify the Aces' spirit and provide the spark on the floor.
Abueva fits the bill, Trillo said.
Not only can 'The Beast' make the Aces a whole lot better with his tireless all-around game, the 6-foot rookie can also be some kind of an enforcer on the floor, Trillo said.
“I feel the way to survive the PBA is to have players with the same level of intensity that Calvin possesses. Calvin has to be Calvin. He’s the type of player who hates to lose, that’s why we definitely need his intensity,” said Trillo.
This early, Trillo is looking at three veteran stars - center Sonny Thoss, Tony Dela Cruz and playmaker LA Tenorio - to serve as Abueva’s mentors and help him harness that energy and intensity to the Aces' advantage.
“Sonny isn’t that vocal but he and Tony are leaders who lead by example. They work hard during practice and they lead the team basically," he said. "They can help Calvin as he adjusts to PBA life.”