ASIA is bound to meet the Philippine 'Beast.'
Multiple sources confirmed to Spin.ph on Friday that the hardnosed Alaska Aces forward is one of the 26 players named to the Gilas Pilipinas 3.0 pool by head coach Tab Baldwin.
In fact, one high-ranking official bared that Abueva was already part of Baldwin's initial wish list of 16 players for the team bound for the 2015 Fiba Asia championships, even before it was expanded to 26 to anticipate changes.
Several sources also revealed Abueva ranks high on Baldwin's list.
“Gustong-gusto niya (Baldwin) 'yan (Abueva). In fact, everytime nagda-draft siya ng listahan ng players niya, andun lagi si Abueva,” said the source who saw the list drafted by Baldwin which is now in the hands of the PBA.
“Sa 16 original list nga ni Tab, andun sa itaas si Abueva. Alam niya kasi na maraming gamit sa player na 'yun and very ripe na siya for international tournaments. He suits the Philippines’ brand of basketball very much.”
Baldwin refused to confirm or deny Abueva’s inclusion in his pool, which PBA commissioner Chito Salud is expected to reveal once Baldwin is through with his meetings with team owners.
“I can’t divulge that information,” Baldwin told Spin.ph.
Another source said Baldwin is only being careful with his approach to his nomination of Abueva, as he still wants to personally talk with Alaska team owner Wilfred Uytengsu this week regarding the player's availability.
“Medyo gusto kasi niya na maging tama ang approach sa paghiram niya kay Calvin,” said the source.
“He believes na malaking bagay sa national team 'yung Abueva. Kasi offensive at defensive gem 'yun. Saka maraming maki-create na mismatches yung Abueva sa international play,” he added.
“So sana maipahiram talaga si Abueva. Kailangan siya ng bansa natin.”
Abueva, for his part, welcomed a possible stint with Gilas, saying it has been his dream to represent the country in international tournaments.
The former San Sebastian star was also a part of former Gilas coach Chot Reyes' wish list prior to the 2013 Fiba Asia championships in Manila, but the stint was stymied by injuries.
“Masaya ako kung masasali ako. Masaya ako na mag national team. Lahat naman ng tao 'yan ang pangarap, di ba?” said Abueva while preparing to join Alaska’s practice on Friday afternoon.
“Kung masasama ako dun sa top 26 na invitees, siyempre mag-eensayo at magta–tryout ako ng todo. Ibubuhos ko talaga lahat para masama ako,” added the former NCAA MVP.
Abueva was already given the green light by Uytengsu to play for the national team in 2013, but had to pull out at the last minute due to a knee injury that needed medical attention in China.
Abueva’s longtime agent and benefactor, Pampanga vice governor Dennis Pineda, is keeping his fingers crossed that his ward will be finally given the chance to play for the national team.
“Sana mabigyan talaga siya ng tsansa na lumaro sa national team. Maraming papahirapan si Calvin. Kahit anong pwesto kayang laruin niyan. Point guard to power forward, kaya niya,” said Pineda, who in an earlier interview with Spin.ph tipped Abueva to play point guard for Gilas.
“Kaya ni Calvin mag-point guard, sinasabi ko sa inyo. Ginawa namin dati sa Baste 'yan, siya ang nag-top sa scoring, rebounds at assists. Mantakin mo na sa national team niya gagawin 'yun. Mas makakaganda, di ba?”
Abueva, whose contract with Alaska expires this coming August, is aching to play for the country, Pineda bared.
“Si Calvin naman gustong gustong maglaro. Gusto isuot ang bandila ng bansa at makatulong sa team,” reiterated Pineda.
Even PBA legends Tommy Manotoc and Freddie Webb support the inclusion of Abueva in the national team, saying the 27 year old Angeles City native has the guts and talent to go up against the best in Asia.
Here's a video of the interview with Pineda: