The process of selecting the Gilas Pilipinas line-up has always been tough and complicated. It depends on multiple variables that consider players’ availability and commitment. There have also been issues about mother ball clubs allowing only a limited number of players from their roster. This was never an issue for “The Beast” a barely six-foot two ball of energy that is a menace on the court. Calvin Abueva is always ready to play against any odds from his days in San Sebastian and after a grueling campaign in his pro season; Calvin wants to play.
Exuding toughness with every inch of his body, he has never backed down from giants, he is built that way. After an excellent showing in both local and international competitions, it was surprising to most people that he was not included in the Gilas Pilipinas Roster for the upcoming Olympic Qualifier here in Manila. The last time a player was excluded from a lineup that made headlines was the time when Jimmy Alapag wasn’t part of the Yeng Guiao led team a few years back. Then Jimmy dropped a three-pointer against South Korea to propel us to the World Championships. Maybe something like that is in the works for Abueva?
If we’re going to be technical about this, it was a question of ceiling that led to his drop along with point guard L.A. Tenorio; they are the shortest ones for their positions. It was not a question of skill but a question of matching up to the size of international competition. There really is no one to blame for this exclusion. Not Calvin, there is absolutely no lack on his effort for flag and country. Not the coaching staff, they are the most qualified to decide on these things because they have been doing this their entire lives. Unless you’re in the same level of profession in that industry, you can’t really say “I know better”. Most of us wanted Calvin to be in that line-up because he’s an automatic headache for the other team no matter his size and he doesn’t even need the ball to be effective. But the Basketball Gods have different plans.
A story came out about the day Calvin got cut. He fancied himself a walk in the streets of Italy where he shed some tears for a few moments. Uttering that he gave it his all but it still wasn’t enough. This wasn’t the beast we knew. Not the one you booed when he was killing your team or the one you cheered when he was feasting on the opponents.
He is human after all. Even beasts are allowed to bleed.
Calvin Abueva is a man who loves to play the game, He has a passion that allows him to dedicate all his strength for the nation but he won’t be able to do it. Not this time. But he has done enough hasn’t he? He represents the Filipino in every way; undersized but never intimidated, overmatched yet relentless. We just have to enjoy him in a different way as he cheers alongside us for our Gilas Pilipinas, his brothers and our players.
It’s our home court; let’s defend it like a Beast.
A: Mark Acle | P: smartgilasbasketball