CALVIN Abueva has vowed to maintain the competitive edge and efficiency that helped him beat big man June Mar Fajardo for the PBA Rookie of the Year award last season.
The Alaska power forward won the once-in-a-lifetime honor over the Petron center by virtue of his amazing performance in the first two conferences of the league last season, highlighted by a championship with the Aces during the Commissioner’s Cup.
“Yun lang naman ang gusto kong ipakita, `yung lamang ko sa kanya,” said Abueva, who admitted feeling threatened by Fajardo’s late season surge during the Governors Cup.
“Andyan yung pressure. Lagi naman eh.”
“Maganda `yung nilaro ni June Mar nung Governors’ Cup. Talagang andun lahat `yung sipag niya at galing,” he said. “Sana mapanatili ko `yung lamang ko sa kanya kung anuman yun.”
Asked if Fajardo’s dominating form in the season-ending conference will make him play better, Abueva nodded.
“Oo, may pressure talaga. Pero siyempre nasa sa akin na `yun. Kailangan kong ihanda nang husto ang sarili ko sa bawat game,” he said.
But Abueva clarified that people should stop comparing the two of them as they play different positions.
“Talent-wise kasi, marami akong kayang gawin. Pero sa big, si June Mar talaga 'yun. Magkaiba kasi ang laro namin,” he said.
And instead of thinking about the missed chance of becoming the first Rookie-MVP player in the last 24 years, the sophomore from Angeles City, Pampanga said he’d rather focus on helping Alaska win its 15th franchise title.
“Yung Rookie-MVP, wala na sa akin `yun. Para sa akin mas gusto ko isentro utak ko sa ginawa ko nung first season ko. Sisipagan ko pa para mas maging maganda ipapakita ko,” he said.
“Gusto ko three conferences na maganda laro ko. Unlike ngayon na talagang medyo nawala ako nung Governors’ Cup. Gusto kong bumawi ngayong All-Filipino,” added the Alaska stalwart.