SAN Sebastian's dynamic duo of Calvin Abueva and Ronald Pascual admits trying to win an NCAA championship while playing before PBA scouts who watch their every move have raised the pressure on them this season.
The two Stags stars have been the cynosure of attention since applying for the PBA draft, closely watched by scouts including new Alaska coaching consultant Sean Chambers who saw them in action during the team's 80-71 victory over San Beda on Monday night.
Chambers, who is in town to help new Alaska coach Luigi Trillo prepare for the 38th PBA season, came away impressed and said he feels both Abueva and Pascual are ripe for the pro league.
Alaska owns the No. 2 pick overall in the rookie draft, which will be held this Sunday at the Robinson’s Place in Ermita.
“May [added] pressure 'yung may mga scout na nanonood, although mas motivated ako ngayong mag-pursige, siyempre, pangarap ko ding maglaro sa PBA,” said the 6-foot-3 Pascual, who led the Stags in the win over the Lions with 28 points and five rebounds.
Abueva also put on a show before Chambers and the other scouts present, torching the Lions with a near-triple double of 21 points, 21 rebounds and nine assists.
But he said impressing scouts comes only second to trying to win a championship in his farewell season with the Stags.
“Siyempre, masaya at excited, though mas masayang isipin kung maka-grand exit pa kami 'pag mag-champion kami this year,” said the 6’4” workhorse, who experts feel won't fall outside the Top 2 when the pro teams make their picking on Sunday.
Abueva and Pascual, also a consensus first-rounder, have also been making the rounds of tryouts ahead of the draft. On Tuesday, they attended scrimmages arranged by both Alaska and the San Miguel group.
They admitted making the jump to the PBA would require a lot more work on their game.
“Diskarte sa laro, kailangan ko pa siyempre improve iyan. Tapos, ginagawa ko, dumarating ako ng maaga sa practice para i-practice din yung dribbling at shooting ko,” said the sharp-shooting Pascual.
Abueva knows that the PBA is an entirely new playing field. “Posibleng mag-adjust siyempre ako ng position ko sa paglalaro. Ngayon kasi No. 4 ako, pero pagdating ko sa PBA, puwedeng mag No. 3 ako kaya doble kayod din sa pag-improve ng dribbling ko saka shooting,” said Abueva.