PHOENIX coach Louie Alas insisted Calvin Abueva is with the Fuel Masters and going nowhere amid speculations from fans that the enigmatic forward could soon to traded to another PBA ballclub.
Alas said the trade that got Abueva to the Phoenix camp from Alaska in exchange for a 2019 first-round draft pick and Karl Dehesa is testament of the team's intent to turn into a legit title contender.
“Kinuha namin si Calvin para sa Phoenix. Period,” said Alas after Wednesday’s tune-up game between Phoenix and NLEX where Abueva joined his new team for the first time.
Alas said there is no way Phoenix will trade Abueva to another team, unless it's a deal involving San Miguel star slotman June Mar Fajardo.
“Kung ibibigay si June Mar, bakit hindi? At maiintindihan din ni Calvin ‘yun. Mag-iisip ka. Parang kay Calvin na mag-iisip ka kapag i-ooffer sayo. Sabi ko nga, gunggong ako kapag hindi ako nag-isip ng tama,” said Alas.
"Now, if Calvin is doing well, bakit mo i-tetrade ‘yan,” he added.
But Alas doesn't see a 'sweetheart deal' with any other team, saying Phoenix is a true independent team.
“Baka ang nasa isip nila San Miguel team kami. ‘Yun ang unang una kong tinanong (sa Phoenix) before I signed up. San Miguel ba tayo? Hindi talaga. Me, myself, napatunayan ko ‘yan. Independent team ‘to."
Alas said Phoenix was fortunate to find Abueva available in the trade market.
“Kahit sino namang team ia-acquire ‘yan kapag available. Just lucky kasi nag-usap pa kami ni coach Alex (Compton) na basta may player ka na ite-trade, sana masabihan mo ako. And true enough, sabi niya, Calvin is available. Sinong kapalit? ‘Yun agad tanong ko. Nag-explore kami pareho. After one week, ‘yun na,” said Alas.
The multi-titled coach also dispelled talk that the trade was not fair, pointing out that Phoenix's first-round pick is a veritable lottery pick in a deep 2019 draft class.
“Puwedeng sabihin nila ‘yun kasi entitled sila sa opinion nila. Pero tandaan mo, ‘yung pick na kinukuha nila, based on the last three years, ang worse nun number three. Eh ‘yung number three, parang lottery pick na ‘yan. We will never know kung kasing-galing ni Calvin. Baka mas magaling pa kay Calvin ‘yan.
“Ang amin, win-win. New beginning ni Calvin. New beginning din sa kanila. At hindi ‘yun basta-basta na pick. That’s a lottery pick,” said Alas.
Alas said Phoenix is in the right direction in its bid to form a competitive team following the arrival of Abueva plus two more valuable picks in the coming draft.
“Bihirang dumating ‘yung opportunity na ganito. ‘Yung pick na ginive up namin, 2019 and may dalawang pick pa kami this coming draft. It’s not a quick fix. Talagang Calvin is Calvin. Ano ‘yan, talagang ibebase mo, game-changer talaga,” said Alas.
“Feeling ko competitive na. We are three pieces away. Eto na, si Calvin, at ‘yung dalawang pick. For me, pang-playoffs na ‘yan kasi nung nakaraan, one possession away from the playoffs. At least, malalim na ‘yung bench namin,” said Alas.