Calvin Abueva not thinking too much about 'Gilas heart and soul' tag handed down by Pingris
Calvin Abueva had the luxury of playing limited minutes in Alaska's one-sided victory over Phoenix on Friday night. Jerome Ascano

CALVIN Abueva refused to get ahead of himself as far as his return to Gilas Pilipinas is concerned, with his sights remaining dead set on Alaska’s campaign in the PBA Philippine Cup.

The Alaska superstar, who gained a call-up to the Gilas 5.0 pool after being cut last year from the team to the 2016 Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila, is simply focused on leading the Aces’ postseason bid in the all-Filipino conference.

“Ngayon, actually ‘di ko pa inaano yan na (mapasok) ako,” Abueva said after the Aces’ 106-85 win over Phoenix on Friday night. “Ito muna yung iniisip ko.”

“Matagal pa naman yung preparation sa Gilas,” he added. “Syempre kailangan muna namin makuha ‘to makapasok kami ng quarters, makapasok ng semis, makapasok ng finals.”

Abueva, though, looks like a shoo-in for Gilas 5.0 as former national team forward Marc Pingris labeled him as his replacement as the team’s acknowledged heart and soul.

[See Marc Pingris on Abueva: 'Parang s'ya na pumalit sa akin (sa Gilas']

“Actually ‘di ko muna naiisip yan (comments of Pingris), nababasa ko lang pero wala muna yan sa isip ko,” Abueva said. “Dito muna sa league na to, bawat game crucial kaya kailangan muna mag-focus.”

At least the Aces have already secured a quarterfinal berth following their victory over the Fuel Maters, but Abueva is reminding his team there’s plenty of work to be done.

“Kailangan namin talaga mapaghandaan 'yung Rain or Shine, yun talaga yung pinaka-crucial na game para makakuha kami ng second place,” Abueva said. “Di madali dadaanan namin pero lalaban kami. Kailangan namin dumepensa dito kasi ibang team tong Rain or Shine.”

Abueva finished with seven points, four boards, four assists, three blocks, and one steal against the Fuel Masters. He played just 18 minutes after hurting his knee in a collision with former San Sebastian teammate Michael Miranda.

“Medyo masakit, pero syempre ‘di pa inaano, therapy pa para prepare sa Rain or Shine,” he said.

[See K-Rac comes out of his shell as Alaska rips Phoenix to clinch playoff spot]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos