SAN Sebastian superstar Calvin Abueva had just kissed his bid for NCAA back-to-back MVP awards goodbye after committing a disqualifying foul in the Stags’ 93-75 win over the Lyceum Pirates on Thursday night.
The 6-foot-2 Abueva was ejected with six minutes and eight seconds left in the third quarter for hitting the Pirates’ Vence Laude with a closed fist in a pounding motion as the two were down on the floor.
A disqualifying foul automatically merits a one-game suspension.
But worse, the likely suspension to be meted on the league’s best player makes him ineligible to win any individual award this season.
So frustrated was the player they call 'The Beast’ after the disqualification that he vented his anger by punching and smashing the fiber glass panel of the door to the San Sebastian dugout at The Arena in San Juan.
He then stormed out of the arena without waiting for the game to be finished.
Allan Trinidad, the Stags’ interim coach in lieu of the resigned Topex Robinson, was baffled by Abueva’s misconduct.
“Hindi ko alam ano gusto niya patunayan. Hindi niya lang siguro talaga mapigilan ang intensity niya,” said Trinidad.
Even before the game, Trinidad had already talked with his star forward and told him to keep his emotions in check to avoid any unfortunate event that could prevent him from taking a second straight MVP award.
“Sabi ko sa kanya wala siyang kalaban sa MVP race,” said the coach.” Sigurado nagsisisi siya ngayon.”
“Luckily si Ian ang second,” Trinidad said, referring to 6-foot-6 center Ian Sangalang, who took over the scoring when Abueva was ejected, finishing with 20 points, 17 boards, and two block shots.
Trinidad is hoping the Commissioner’s office would not be too harsh in deciding the length of Abueva’s suspension.
“I hope hindi masyado grabe ang ipataw ni (Commissioner) coach Joe (Lipa),” he said.
Asked for his position, Lipa said he will review what happened during the crucial play, but is certain Abueva won’t win any award if he gets suspended.
“I believe that’s the rule,” the commissioner categorically stated.
Abueva, who leads the league in points, rebounds, and assists, could still win the Finals MVP award if he leads San Sebastian to the championship.