EVEN in his shining moment, Calvin 'The Beast' Abueva heard the boos.
Alaska's controversial freshman forward won Rookie of the Year honors on Friday night but was greeted by boos from the pro-Petron gallery during the PBA Annual Leo Awards at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The boos, however, were understandable since the league's individual awards were held before Game Four of the Governors Cup Finals between San Mig and Petron.
Abueva's closest rival for the honor was Petron's No. 1 pick overall June Mar Fajardo and Meralco's Cliff Hodge who finished second and third, respectively.
The former San Sebastian star from Pampanga also happened to be one of the league's most polarizing figures, drawing raves for his athleticism and relentless play and criticism for alleged flopping.
But there was no denying Abueva the individual honor following his impressive play in the first two conferences of the year, which saw him inspire Alaska to the Commissioner's Cup championship while raising hope of a historic rookie-MVP season.
Still the boos persisted even when the Alaska super rookie was being interviewed at midcourt where he proceeded to thank his family, his teammates, Alaska management and the team's fans for the support.
Surprisingly, the balloting wasn't even close as statistical leader Abueva got more votes from the media and the Commissioner's Office than Fajardo, who won in the players' votes but only by a slight margin.
Abueva garnered 2672 points built around 1016 in stats, 1242 votes from the media, 114 votes from players, and 300 votes from the Commissioner’s Office.
Fajardo was a distant second in the balloting with 2097 points – 926 (stats), 707 (media), 315 (players) and 150 (PBA). while the 6-foot-4 Hodge had 1116 to finish third in the race.