CALVIN Abueva is in the running for the Sportsmanship Year Award of 2020 in his comeback season after his suspension due to unacceptable conduct inside the court was lifted by the PBA after 16 months.
Abueva was named by the league as one of the candidates for the award, the others being many-time winner Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine, Scottie Thompson of Barangay Ginebra, Kevin Alas of NLEX, and CJ Perez of Terrafirma.
The nomination came as a big turnaround for 'The Beast,' who last July 2019 was suspended indefinitely by the PBA for a clothesline hit on TNT import Terrence Jones and his lewd gesture against Bobby Ray Parks’ girlfriend.
Abueva is also in contention for Best Player of the Conference in the PBA Awards Night, in lieu of the yearly Leo Awards, on January 17, but it was his nomination for the award named after Samboy Lim that surprised fans.
Fans have noticed a marked improvement in Abueva’s on-court behavior during the bubble season, in which they saw the Phoenix Super LPG star focused on playing and doing away with extra motion and other antics.
Even PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial noticed the changes.
“Makikita mo lahat, nandoon pa rin ‘yung physicality niya pero hindi nang-aasar. At kapag may natutumbang player, kakampi man o hindi, binubuhat niya,” Marcial said in a December interview.