AS rumors continued to fly that gung-ho forward Calvin Abueva is bound for crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra, Alaska Milk was quick to put its foot down.
Alaska team governor Dickie Bachmann insisted that Abueva is part of the core of 'untouchables' of the Aces alongside Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio, JV Casio and RJ Jazul and is staying put.
They Said It!
“No plans to trade Calvin or anyone in the team. We’re sticking with what we have." Alaska team governor Dickie Bachmann
“No, we are not trading him. There’s not even any proposal on the negotiating table,” said Bachmann.
For several weeks now, rumors about Abueva supposedly being shipped to Ginebra for Dylan Ababou and Josh Urbiztondo have been making the rounds on different fan pages and social networking sites.
Looking at Ginebra’s current roster, there is a clear need for an enforcer and energy guy to pick the team up when the Kings' Twin Towers of Japeth Aguilar and Gregory Slaughter are stopped by defenders.
Further fanning the rumors is the fact that Ginebra is one of the few teams Alaska has dealt with as far as trades are concerned, having sent former star LA Tenorio to the Kings in 2012.
But for Bachmann, the Aces are better off keeping the nucleus of the lineup intact especially now that the team is hoping to retain the crowd it won, incidentally, via a sweep of Ginebra last year.
“No plans to trade Calvin or anyone in the team. We’re sticking with what we have, and we’re sticking with Calvin,” said Bachmann, a former Aalska big man in the PBA.
Asked if he’ll be interested to trade Abueva or other key players should an offer come, Bachmann gave an open-ended reply.
“We haven’t had nothing on the table. I haven’t called out. There’s no offer inside. Nothing,” he said. “Our goal right now is to get better, hopefully make the quarters and semis and then we’ll see what happens next.”
Bachmann, however, admitted that pressure on the players, including Abueva, led to the team's struggles over the last two conferences.
“Why did we struggle? Yeah, maybe there was pressure on some of the players, there were problems with Calvin and other stuff. We’re fixing that now and hopefully, there’s no more pressure this conference,” he said.
Can Abueva bounce back?
“We’re hoping… we’re hoping… we need him for us to compete and try to win. Even the other players,” he said. “We already did our part, it’s up to him now to perform. The management, the coaching staff, support him.”
“I don’t think there’s a problem (with Calvin), it’s just him adjusting to what the other players are doing defensively and it’s up for him to figure out. The coaching staff spent time to help him already,” added Bachmann.
And will Abueva still be a vital cog in Alaska’s defense of the title, Bachmann can only hope so.
“Yes, I hope so. He and the rest of the team!”
The Aces lost 89-94 to Barako Bull Energy in a tune-up match on Thursday, just a few days after they began practices for the coming Commissioner’s Cup. They are currently in Cebu for a four-team pocket tournament.