SEEING Calvin Abueva play inevitably reminds mom Evelyn of his father.
Evelyn Abueva bared that her son’s estranged dad, Calvin Sweeney, was a mean basketball player himself. Good enough, in fact, to play college ball and dream of making it to the NBA.
“Dati siyang naglalaro ng basketball eh. Dati siyang varsity ng school sa Houston,” said Mama Evelyn, unable to recall the name of the school. “Hindi ko na maalala kung anong school siya, basta sinabi niya sakin noon.”
There were also times when the 6-foot-6 Sweeney would impress her during games with his fellow militarymen in their barracks in the former US base in Clark Field, Pampanga in 1986. Abueva was born two years after.
Was he as feisty as Calvin?
“Makulit din maglaro 'yun parang si Calvin. Mapang-asar din. Umiiskor rin siya (Sweeney) ng mahigit twenty,” Mama Evelyn said of her former partner who she claimed hails from Brooklyn.
As per her recollection, Calvin Sweeney abandoned his basketball dream only when he joined the military on the prodding of his family.
“Hindi lang siya nagtuloy na mag-basketball sa NBA kasi pumasok na siya sa US Navy. Dun nga kami nagkakilala,” added Ms. Abueva.
“Alam ko balak rin niya mag-try out nun sa NBA, kaso 'yung pamilya niya gusto siya mag-Navy. Yung tatay kasi niya (Sweeney) military rin. Lahi nila kasi military, pati mga kapatid niyang babae military din.”
Unfortunately, Mommy Evelyn bared that Calvin never got the chance to bond with his father as Sweeney left after the US bases in Clark Field were shut down in the early 90’s after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.
“Hindi na kami nagkita. Pero nakakausap ko pa rin siya sa Facebook. Andun siya, i-research mo,” said the elder Abueva. “Ayaw ko ng guluhin kasi may iba na siyang pamilya dun."
Sweeney, Evelyn said, left when Calvin was still a baby, the reason the son had no recollection of his father.
However, Mommy Evelyn said her daughter Jovel was able to locate Mr. Sweeney years ago and had a chancec to talk to him for the first time.
“Nakuha nung dalawa 'yung number nya. Tapos nagkausap sila. Inaaya nga ni Calvin na pumunta rito yung daddy niya. Lilibre raw niya ng ticket sa laro, hindi sa ticket sa eroplano. Loko yun eh,” she said.
Calvin, however, isn't entirely buying her mother's story.
Asked about his father's basketball background, the Alaska star said, "Hindi totoo 'yon. Sabi lang n'ya yon."
Ms Abueva stressed that that Abueva’s basketball genes did not excusively come from his dad, saying her brothers also played basketball.
Abueva’s half-sister Jovel is also a former track and field athlete at Jocson College in Balibago, Angeles City.
“Yung mga kapatid ko din kasi sa Davao mga kilalang players din duon nuong araw. Hindi nga lang sila nakarating maglaro dito sa Manila,” she said.
Mommy Evelyn, however, is most thankful for her son’s discoverer, Pampanga vice governor Dennis Pineda, for standing as the father Abueva never had during the early years of his career.
“Siya talaga ang nag-alaga at umalalay kay Calvin. Kasi mula’t sapul todo suporta siya sa anak ko. Hanggang ngayon nga, si Vice Gov pa rin ang isa sa mga unang tinatakbuhan ni Calvin pag may problema siya,” she said.
"Parang anak rin ang turing kasi sa kanya ni Boss Delta (Pineda)."