TWO coaches who handled Calvin Abueva for so long in the past believes it’s not too late for the controversial forward to mend his ways.
Alex Compton of Alaska and San Miguel Beer deputy Ato Agustin were one in saying the Phoenix star deserves a second chance but needs help to straighten out a thriving but often tumultuous PBA career.
The two mentors, however, made it clear they won't condone the nasty clothesline Abueva delivered against TnT Katropa import Terrence Jones that led to his indefinite suspension in Asia’s pioneering pro league.
“I have no further comment on that. Mine is not to judge. I wanted to love that guy and build him up as much as I could. I still hope for the best for him,” said Compton, who handled Abueva from the time he became coach of the Aces in 2014 until the franchise traded ‘The Beast’ to Phoenix in 2018.
“But it was clearly a mistake, clearly a mistake.”
“Nakakagulat at nakakalungkot, kasi parang hindi na ma-control. Siguro kailangan siyang kausapin one-on-one especially dahil career niya ang naaapektuhan,” said Agustin, who was Abueva’s first coach in college at San Sebastian where they won a title together in the 2009 season of the NCAA.
“Okay naman na maglaro na focused ka, tsaka kung pisikal, pero huwag lang manakit,” he added. “Siyempre perahas kayong mga players. Trabaho ninyo yan, e.”
Having known Abueva well from their time together, the two coaches swore the 31-year-old Angeles City has his good side, especially when outside of the court.
It’s just in his nature to play with a lot of intensity whenever he’s on the court, they said.
“Mabait yun especially sa labas (ng court). Pero pag sa laro, laro talaga,” said Agustin, who also won a championship with Abueva at Exelroof in the defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL). “Nandoon yung energy niya especially on how he plays, talagang pisikal siya maglaro.”
Added Compton, “He’s an emotional guy. He plays really hard, he battles.”
Agustin said Abueva hardly gave him headaches during the time he handled him as an amateur, adding he listens to his coaches and most of the time, is under control.
While Abueva was far from perfect during his stay with the Aces, Compton still professed his love for his former player.
“I love Calvin. We all make mistakes,” said the American mentor. “I will never be here to beat him up. I wasn’t there to beat him up before, and I mean like verbally, mentally, psychologically. It’s clearly a mistake, but I still love the guy.”
Both Agustin and Compton wish Abueva the best, especially his family, who the Alaska coach hopes ‘will be able to get through it.’
In parting, the two hopes professional help will be extended to Abueva, although they believe everything will have to start with himself.
“Ang advise ko is for him to control yung emotions lalo na at yung career niya ang naaapektuhan,” said Agustin, who disclosed Abueva would always greet him on the sidelines just before every game against San Miguel. “Ipakita niya na iba na siya. Mag-iba lang siya on how to deal with the game.”
Compton said he’s praying for Abueva to get his act together, with the help of Phoenix officials and coaches.
“It’s not my place to say (because) he’s with Phoenix. But I know coach Louie (Alas), coach Topex (Robinson) Bugs (team manager Paolo Bugia), Atty. Zorrilla (team governor), and they will do everything to handle the situation. They’re all good leaders and good men who will try to do their best to help Calvin,” Compton said.