CALVIN Abueva is counting the days until he finally gets back in PBA action.
While he's at it, the Phoenix star is making sure that he's a hundred percent ready.
Calvin, who was slapped with an indefinite suspension four months ago, has regained his old form with the help of the Fuel Masters conditioning coach Aldo Panlilio. For an hour and a half each day, the one-time Best Player of the Conference will do squats, deadlifts, bench press, and a few plyometric exercises.
His routine starts with a warmup and activation for 15 minutes, and ends with conditioning and core exercise for another 15 minutes.
"Siyempre, preparation din kung maisalang ka this conference or next conference, 'di ba? Kaya laging handa lang ako, at least 100 percent andun pa rin ako," he tells SPIN Life on Wednesday during practice at The Upper Deck.
“Actually, para sa akin pareho lang, nagpapakundisyon ka kahit naglalaro ka or hindi," he adds. "Ang sa akin lang, 'wag lang maalis 'yung shape ng katawan at mental toughness ko sa laro at practice. Thirty one na ako, kailangan kong i-improve 'yung sarili ko."
During practice, The Beast is basically his old self.
He's all over the place, battling for rebounds, chasing after loose balls, and, one of his signature plays, running the break. But Panlilio explains that he has to save the former's energy for conditioning and practice.
“Since medyo wala pa namang timeline si Calvin, we always do a full-body split — it's upper-legs-upper-legs para magbi-build muna kami ng foundation for his strength. Then kapag dumating na ang time na maglalaro siya ulit, we're going to start working on his explosiveness," he says.
Panlilio shares that the man's energy has already improved a lot since the day he came to the gym even before being allowed to join the team practice.
Aside from the program, Calvin's innate athleticism plays a big role in his progress.
"It's not that hindi nagwo-work hard si Calvin, pero siyempre everyone's different," says Panlilio. "Some people are really built to be an athlete, and I have to say he's one of those. Kasi naturally movements come to him, konting buhat lang, balik-lakas na siya.”
"Definitely, he has progressed. When he first came to me even before pinayagan siya for practice, he was already putting in extra work. He came here, he couldn't jump, he couldn't dunk," he continues. "After two weeks, ayun na, throwing it off the board, two hands, fast break na siya all the way, finishing with contact. But then again, it helps na he's naturally gifted."
For seven-time All-Star, who has learned his lesson the hard way, vowed to make the most of the second chance that he's been given.
"Sa akin, siyempre after noong nangyari na 'yun, in-improve ko 'yung mental [toughness] ko at kung ano ang mga dapat kong gawin sa pagbabalik ko," he says. "Kasi ang daming naging gulo, ang daming issue, kaya ngayon focus lang ako ngayon kung ano ang pwede kong i-improve."