HARD as it is to believe, Calvin Abueva says he considers his recent suspension from the NCAA men’s basketball tournament a blessing in disguise.
Instead of sulking over the costly one-game ban for an unsportsmanlike act in San Sebastian’s 83-75 victory over Lyceum last August 23 that took him out of the MVP race, Abueva said the incident has only strengthened his resolve to lead the Stags to their first NCAA title in three years.
“Hindi nga nabawasan [ang motivation] eh, nadagdagan pa nga,” said the 24-year-old Abueva. “Pagkatapos ng nangyari, magfo-focus na lang ako para makuha ang championship.”
The volatile forward admits that to this day, he still regrets reacting to provocation from Lyceum's Vence Ladue and hitting the Pirate with a closed fist in the head -- an infraction that led to his ejection, an automatic one-game ban and eventual disqualication from the MVP race.
The reigning league MVP said he has promised not to let his emotions get the best of him next time.
“Malaking panghihinayang talaga pero mag-iisip na ako sa sunod," said the pro-bound guard from Porac, Pampanga. "Sa sariling laro ko na lang ilalabas ang galit ko.”
'The Beast' said he used the time away from the league to work harder in the Stags’ practice as he promised to emerge from the controversy an even better player.
“Nung na-suspend ako, nag-tiyaga talaga ako sa practice at dinoble ko ang sipag ko,” he said.
The hard work appeared to have paid off as Abueva delivered his third triple-double of the season upon his return, scoring 17 points to go with 13 rebounds and 13 assists in lifting the Stags past College of St. Benilde, 92-72, on Monday.
The episode behind him, Abueva said his sad story can serve as a cautionary tale for other players, especially those with aspirations to become the next league MVP.
“Leksyon na rin ito sa ibang gustong mag-MVP na huwag nila gayahin yung nagawa ko,” he said.