CALVIN Abueva is set to begin talks on a new contract with Alaska, with his handlers assuring that the priority is to stay put in the Uytengsu organization amid growing interest in 'The Beast.'
Abueva's manager Dennis Pineda said they are set to sit down with Alaska management on Monday to begin hammering out a new contract to hopefully replace the three-year deal the former NCAA MVP signed with the Aces after he was made the No. 2 pick overall in the 2012 rookie draft.
“May meeting sa Monday. Mag-uusap na sila Calvin at management ng Alaska regarding a possible contract extension,” said Pineda, the soft-spoken vice governor of Pampanga.
Abueva has become one of the high-profile players in the league in his two-plus seasons with Alaska - an enigmatic forward admired for his energy on the floor and at the same time loathed by some fans for what they perceived was his tendency to play dirty.
Pineda assured that the priority is to sign a new deal with Alaska, even if Abueva is the only top player in Pineda's stable who doesn't belong to the San Miguel Beer group.
In fact, the two other members of the famed 'Pinatubo Trio' at San Sebastian are already there. Ronald Pascual was picked third overall in last year’s draft by San Miguel while Ian Sangalang was the no. 2 pick overall by Purefoods in the 2013 draft. Another Pineda talent, Arwind Santos, has been with San Miguel since 2009.
Is there a chance Abueva will follow suit?
Pampanga's top sports patron did not deny that Abueva is a big fan of former Ginebra player-coach Robert Jaworski, which explains why he used to don the No. 7 jersey during his days with the Stags.
“Big fan ni Jawo si Calvin. Tapos alam ko rin bago siya nag PBA patuloy siyang naging fan ng Ginebra,” he said.
Asked if there is a chance that Abueva desires a move to the team he used to support as a kid, Pineda broke into a laugh.
“Wala. Hindi kami nag-uusap ng Ginebra o ng San Miguel o ng iba pang team. We’re focused sa Alaska,” Pineda said.
“In fact, mas gusto ko sa Alaska si Calvin kasi may playing time siya run at maganda ang exposure at role na ibinibigay sa kanya ni coach Alex Compton.
"Saka sa ibang team kasi loaded ang pwesto ni Calvin, makikipag-agawan lang siya ng playing time,” added Pineda, who admitted that he never gets a cent from the salary of the players in his stable.
But Pineda’s player adviser, lawyer Charlie Chua, isn't entirely ruling out an Abueva move to Ginebra.
“Pwedeng option namin 'yun na dalhin si Calvin sa Ginebra, kung hindi siya i-re-renew ng Alaska, pero malabo 'yun. Kasi alam naman namin kung gaano kamahal ng Alaska si Calvin,” said Chua.
Chua said that with the skills of Abueva, he can be an asset to any team he plays for, not just Ginebra.
“Kilala mo naman ang karakas ni Calvin. He plays almost all roles. You can never question his heart when he plays and his energy can last for hours. Dun siya gifted eh plus matapang na player,” he said.
Chua assured that they will not accommodate inquiries from other teams while Abueva’s contract with Alaska is in effect until August 31.
“Wala kaming kinakausap na ibang teams, wala rin kaming ini-entertain. Pero alam namin maraming magiging interested sa kanya once na mag-expire contract niya,” said Chua.
“Pero sabi nga ni boss (Pineda), hangga’t interesado ang Alaska kay Calvin, sila ang priority namin,” he added.