THE sight of Phoenix Super LPG coach Topex Robinson fighting back tears as he talked about Calvin Abueva’s quandary inside the PBA bubble was proof that the coach-player relationship between them is like no other.
Robinson broke down when he dedicated the Fuel Masters’ come-from-behind win over Magnolia on Friday to suspended Phoenix forward Abueva, saying it breaks his heart to see a 'son' not being able to do what he loves best.
A day later, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, deputy commissioner Eric Castro, and technical head Mauro Bengua sat down with Abueva, Robinson, and team manager Paolo Bugia to tell the Phoenix LPG star that his suspension was finally lifted.
Abueva and Robinson smiled when asked how he felt about his coach's emotional outburst during the post-game interview.
“Actually, may pinag-usapan kami,” said Abueva, without revealing the conversation he had when Robinson shed tears.
Abueva admitted he indeed has a special bond with Robinson, one that dates back to his college days when they were still together at San Sebastian in the NCAA.
“Alam naman ni coach Topex kung paano ako maglaro at paano ako sa kanya at alam ko rin kung paano din siya sa akin simula Baste days,” he said. “Hindi nawala ‘yung communication namin sa bawat isa. [Mula] sa Alaska at sa Phoenix.
“’Yung communication talaga namin, iba,” he added. “Alam niya kung paano niya ako gamitin at alam niya kung paano niya ako ilabas.”
The Phoenix Super LPG star had a rousing comeback on Monday, scoring 21 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the Fuel Masters' 114-110 win over NLEX - their second straight and fourth in six games overall.
With the suspension finally lifted, Abueva is grateful to Robinson for being there for him during the rough times, and he vowed to do his best to help Phoenix reach its goals.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa kanya sa opportunity na ‘to na pagbalik ko, siya ang coach ko. I’ll give my best. Kung hanggang saan tayo, ‘yun ang kaya natin. Ang akin, hindi lang doon eh. Mas gusto ko pa higitan kung saan man kami pumunta,” Abueva said.