IT didn't seem like too long ago when Calvin Abueva was a wild, untamed 'Beast' roaming the floor both in the PBA and as part of Gilas Pilipinas.
Now a more mature Abueva can serve as example to the young turks of Gilas Pilipinas 5.0.
At 29, the Alaska star is reluctant to take on the responsibility of being one of the leaders of a youth-laden national pool, from where the Gilas team to the coming Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) championship and Fiba-Asia tournament will be formed.
Still playing with boundless energy but with a more refined game after five seasons in the pro ranks, Abueva now hopes to guide cadet members of the Gilas pool.
"Ginagawa lang namin yung kailangan naming gawin," said Abueva. "Sa amin naman na matagal na nakalaro sa Gilas, kailangan namin ibigay yung understanding sa mga bata kasi sila, sige-sige lang eh. Hahataw tayo, pero dapat nasa posisyon."
That learning process, Abueva said, begins in the weekly practices and hopefully in the PBA All-Stat Week next month where Gilas players play selected players from the pro league in three games slated in Lucena City, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro.
Abueva will see action for the national team in the Cebu leg of the festivities but not before testing the mettle of his younger teammates when he suits up for a powerhouse Luzon selection that includes the likes of Gilas veterans Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo and Marc Pingris.
The former Rookie of the Year is aware of the importance of the All-Star games to Gilas, especially with the Seaba championship, set from May 12-18 in Manila, looming closer.
"Pag ikaw nasa Gilas, malaking responsibilidad pag naglaro ka doon. Ito yung warm-up namin na kailangan namin gawin para sa darating na Seaba," Abueva said.
"Para din yun ma-execute namin yung mga pinapagawa ni Coach Chot, yung mga dribble-drive. Yun ang kailangan naming gawin," he added.
Abueva acknowledges the All-Stars, first and foremost, is all about giving entertainment. But he hopes Gilas can do its work while still entertaining the fans.
"Actually, dito hindi naman competition ito. Kumbaga, pampaakit ng tao, kailangan natin ibigay yung effort para pasayahin ang fans."