IT’S not about the money.
Celebrated Alaska rookie Calvin Abueva said his unsanctioned stint in a non-league game in Sta. Maria, Bulacan two weeks ago was his way of giving back to people who helped him on his way up - and of entertaining fans who can't afford to watch him play in the PBA.
“Ang sa akin din kasi, hindi naman libre ang panonood ng PBA, may bayad doon,” Abueva explained to Spin.ph on Wednesday, hours after he and Aces teammate Gabby Espinas were reprimanded but let off the hook by Commissioner Chito Salud for the unsanctioned Bulacan appearance.
“Magbibigay lang ako ng konting kasiyahan sa kanila, tutal paraan ko yun ng pagbalik sa kanila.”
Although Abueva made it clear that his Bulacan escapade was a favor to a cousin, it nonetheless violated a provision in the league’s Uniform Player’s Contract (UPC) which precisely prohibits PBA players from suiting up in other leagues without their mother team's consent.
Both Abueva and Espinas have already apologized to Salud, who in turn just gave them stern warning.
“Pinagsabihan niya lang ako, di naman niya ako pinagalitan,” said the 24-year-old native of Balibago, Angeles City, who went to the Commissioner’s Office shortly after Alaska’s afternoon practice.
“Maayos ang pag-uusap namin, walang bad something.”
The former San Sebastian star was just reminded by Salud that faced with the same situation again, it would be better for Abueva to seek the permission first of his mother team, and then later of the league.
“Sabi sa akin ni Commissioner, kung talagang hindi maiiwasan na may mga invitations mag-paalam ako at mag-iingat kasi syempre PBA pa rin ang priority ko,” said the No. 2 overall pick in the last rookie draft.
The one-time NCAA MVP has vowed not to repeat the same mistake again.