SAN Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua and Calvin Abueva finally buried the hatchet.
On Monday, the two fiery personalities met for the first time since Magnolia acquired the 33-year-old Abueva, who was officially welcomed by Chua to the SMC family.
It was a formal but cordial meeting between the player and top team official, whose fiery exchanges in the past were well documented especially during the time when Abueva was still with Alaska.
“Oo, okay na sila,” according to a SPIN.ph insider privy to the meeting.
But while the two shared a light moment, Chua was also firm on Abueva, reminding him to mend his ways for good especially now that his representing the SMC group.
"Napag-usapan yung mga problema ni Calvin na dapat iwasan na niya," said the insider, who was referring to Abueva's penchant for skipping practices without notice and sometimes not showing up in team meetings and functions.
Abueva's representative Danny Espiritu joined the meeting through speaker fone courtesy of Chua, who is also Barangay Ginebra board of governor.
Asked by the SMC official what is his advise to Abueva, Espiritu said, "O, ayan magtino ka na. Huwag ka ng gagawa ng kalokohan."
The meeting comes on the eve of Abueva’s first practice with the Hotshots since he arrived in a trade from Phoenix, who got guard Chris Banchero and a 2021 second-round draft pick in return.
The two teams also swapped first-round picks (Magnolia's No. 6 pick for Phoenix's No. 10 overall) in the deal.
Abueva and Chua got entangled in the famous ‘nganga’ controversy that served as sidebar of the 2014 Philippine Cup quarterfinals series between Barangay Ginebra and Alaska.
Chua claimed it was Abueva who first did the act, putting his hand in his mouth whenever he made a free throw in a 104-97 Alaska win that dragged the series into a do-or-die encounter.
“That’s coming from them (Alaska fans). Kapag naka-shoot si Abueva, kain daw, ibig sabihin kinain daw kami,” said the SMC executive, who was Ginebra team manager back then.
But the Kings eventually had the last laugh as they hacked out a 108-95 win in their sudden-death game to advance in the semifinals.
Chua did the same ‘nganga’ gesture in the sidelines when Abueva fouled out late in the lopsided loss.
“Pinakita ko lang na kain sila (Aces) ngayon sa amin. Ang problem lang, yung huling kain at huling subo namin, kami ang pasok, yun lang yun,” said Chua.
As they say though, time heals all wounds.
Chua appeared to have coveted Abueva’s services as early as 2018 when the Aces dealt the eccentric forward to Phoenix.
The SMC official told a person close to the ‘Beast’ that Abueva should have just been traded to the SMC group.
“Sabi niya bakit sa Phoenix dinala. Sana dito na lang sa amin,” said the same person.
Three years after, Chua eventually got his wish.