Tab Baldwin puts Abueva value in perspective: 'Antics a disadvantage, competitiveness an advantage'
Alaska star Calvin Abueva tried to get in the nerves of hot-shooting Talk 'N Text import Ivan Johnson on Sunday night. Jerome Ascano

GILAS Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin doesn't seem to be turned off by Alaska forward Calvin Abueva’s antics in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup game between Alaska and Talk ‘N Text on Sunday night.

Abueva, a national team prospect, tried to get in the nerves of Tropang Texters import Ivan Johnson by engaging him in numerous verbal and physical tussles in the game won by the Texters, where Baldwin is the consultant.

But the American-Kiwi mentor believes Calvin's antics can be viewed both positively or negatively, depending on a person's perspective.

“Antics are always a disadvantage, but competitiveness is always an advantage,” Baldwin said. “It’s up to the individual to define when competitiveness becomes antics. That’s something that Calvin has to manage with his coaches and within himself.”

[See Compton regrets engaging import Johnson in a shouting match]

Baldwin, though, lauded Abueva for his energy that brought the Aces back to life, but admitted the Aces star is walking “a fine line."

“Calvin is Calvin. He’s always going to try and be disruptive and that’s one of the things that make him a valuable player,” he said.

“But he upsets everybody. He upset the referees. We get upset at the referee. The referees get upset at everybody, but Calvin seems to remain quite cool through the whole thing and continue to do what Calvin does.”

[See Johnson apologizes to Compton, but tight-lipped on what triggered spat]

Baldwin hopes Abueva would turn his competitiveness into a positive for future national teams.

“If we’re all identifying it as antics, then it’s probably a negative. But if it’s just the competitive nature, then — as long as there’s discipline behind it — it’s not a disadvantage.”

Asked if would still want to coach Abueva, Baldwin gave a safe answer.

“I would be honored to coach any Filipino player.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos