THE chance to play before a hostile crowd in a foreign land is something that naturally excites Calvin Abueva.
“Masarap maglaro ng kalaban sa ibang lugar, di ba?" said the Alaska forward, one of the rising stars in the PBA and also among the pro league's most polarizing players.
'The Beast' may soon get that chance.
As Spin.ph has reported on Saturday, multiple sources have revealed that Abueva is among the 26 players national coach Tab Baldwin has named to the new Gilas Pilipinas pool ahead of the 2015 Fiba-Asia championships in China - news that excites the former NCAA MVP.
"Siyempre, mas gusto ko makalaro din sa Fiba. Malaking bagay din 'yun,” said the 27-year-old Abueva, adding playing for flag and country is one of his lifelong dreams.
However, Abueva was quick to caution that even if he is part of the 26-man pool, there are no guarantees that he will become part of Baldwin's team to the China showpiece serving as a qualifier for the Rio Olympics.
Still, the former San Sebastian said he is willing to try out if necessary to be a part of Gilas' latest incarnation.
“Siyempre, masaya kung nandun ka sa 26, pero di pa naman sure 'yun kung nandun ka sa top 16 or top 13 players,” Abueva confided to Spin.ph before Alaska’s practice at the Gatorade Hoops Center.
"Pero kapag napasama or nagpa-try out, magta-try out tayo," he added.
The only time Abueva, who stands a shade below 6-2, ever wore the national colors was when he played in the Fiba 3x3 World Tour Manila leg last year where he represented Manila North.
The former Rookie of the Year was actually a part of former Gilas coach Chot Reyes' wish list before the 2013 Fiba-Asia championships in Manila, but never got to join the team due to injury.
Abueva said watching Gilas finish runner-up in the Fiba-Asia showpiece in 2013 gave him goosebumps - the reason he is motivated to make it happen again this year.
“Masarap 'yun (experience in the 2013 Fiba-Asia). Nakakakilabot 'yun. Lahat ng pressure, lahat ng excitement nandun na. Eh paano pa kaya kung nangyari uli 'yun, mas masaya,” he said.