ALASKA veteran Dondon Hontiveros hopes energetic but often misunderstood teammate Calvin Abueva will become just the second player in PBA history to win the Most Valuable Player award right on his rookie season.
“Si Calvin palaging positive pagpasok sa court because he brings a lot of energy. Kapag tambak kami, siya makakahabol. Hopefully, Rookie (of the Year) MVP siya. That’s for him,” Hontiveros told Spin.ph after Alaska’s historic 14th PBA championship conquest Sunday night.
Benjie Paras remains as the league's only rookie MVP, achieving the feat during the 1989 season while playing for Shell. Hontiveros feels Abueva has a shot at duplicating that achievement 24 years later.
Hontiveros said Abueva inevitably gets opponents' goat because of his boundless energy, will to win, and pesky defense.
“Kung nasa kabila ka (opposing team), maiinis ka rin siguro eh. Pero knowing Calvin, mas kilala namin siya kaysa iba. It’s just his game, mainis ka man, pero mabait na bata,” said the 35-year-old Hontiveros.
The sweet-shooting Cebuano hotshot also played a key role in the Aces’ dominant 18-4 win-loss record for the just-ended Commissioner’s Cup. He was pivotal in Game Two, scoring 15 points while going 4-of-4 from beyond the arc in helping the Aces post a 104-90 victory.
Hontiveros averaged 6.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 22.7 minutes per game this conference while making 34.6 percent of his shots from the three-point land.
But Hontiveros said credit shouldn’t go to him because he was just part of the championship puzzle Alaska coach Luigi Trillo pieced together before the start of the season.
“Siguro nung unang pagpasok ko, maganda ang chemistry ng team kasi walang star player. Even si Cyrus (Baguio) na soft spoken, team player din. Guys really accepted their roles,” he said.