'THE Beast' is obviously a happy man.
After struggling through a tough sophomore season marred by injuries and poor form, Alaska's enigmatic forward Calvin Abueva looks like he's back to his old self under the watch of coach Alex Compton.
That was none more apparent than on Tuesday night, when the former PBA Rookie of the Year scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 22 rebounds in a performance he capped with the buzzer-beating winner in the Aces' 100-98 win over Talk 'N Text at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Two games into the season, the former San Sebastian star is averaging a league-best 23.5 points to go with 13 rebounds and 2.5 assists - not bad for a 6-1 1/2 forward who gives away a couple of inches to opponents.
“Hindi naman sa malakas kami. Pero sa amin, focus lang kami sa depensa namin, lalo na yung pinapagawa ni coach na tama kaya maganda kinalabasan,” the former NCAA MVP said.
“Binigay lang sa akin ni Lord yun (career-high numbers). Pinagsipagan ko saka ginawa ko lang ang dapat kong gawin kaya maganda ang kinalabasan hanggang huli,” he added.
Abueva said his renewed confidence has a lot to do with the revamped offense of Compton, who has veered away from the triangle offense of former Alaska coaches Luigi Trillo and Tim Cone in favor of a more free-wheeling system that gives players a lot more freedom.
'The Beast' obviously likes it.
“Sistema namin talagang run na lang para magbigay kumpiyansa sa lahat. Iyun ang ginagawa namin pag may pagkakataon,” said Abueva.
“Mas pabor sa akin ito kesa sa mga set-set kaya gumaganda laro naming lahat,” he said. “Tumatakbo kami kaya di nila (opposing teams) alam anong opensa or depensa ang gagawin namin.”