Manila, Philippines – Alaska owner Wilfred Uytengsu yesterday confirmed reports that forward Calvin Abueva had been meted disciplinary action, but denied they were contemplating on trading the former San Sebastian star.
“We have no plans on trading Calvin,” said Uytengsu s during the launching of the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA program where Uytengsu’s company – Alaska Milk Corporation – is the major sponsor for the seventh straight year.
“Calvin is staying with Alaska,” he added.
Uytengsu said that he has heard about the “trade rumors” but as far as he is concerned, it will just stay as that – rumors.
“So I can say categorically there is nothing to the trade rumors, they are rumors, there’s nothing behind it. This is the team that we want to stay with. It’s the same team that I want to see playing in the second conference when Dozier comes back and hopefully we’ll defend our title,” said Uytengsu.
There were reports that Abueva is on the “trading block” even before Alaska coach Luigi Trillo benched him in a 91-88 overtime loss to Globalport.
Abueva was rumored to be traded to Meralco in exchange for Cliff Hodge. There were also talks that last year’s Rookie of the Year may end up playing for Barangay Ginebra or Globalport.
All these, however, were shot down by Uytengsu.
“We never looked at wanting to trade a player, and that’s true of Calvin, to Sonny (Thoss) or players in the past. We believe in building teams over a long period of time. If you look at the average stay of an Alaska player, they stay with us for a very long time,” said Uytengsu.
The 6-foot-7 Thoss is the longest tenured member of the Aces. He was selected fifth overall by the franchise during the 2004 PBA Rookie Draft. Other players who had a long career with Alaska include Johnny Abarrientos, Jeff Cariaso, Bong Hawkins and Jojo Lastimosa.
Uytengsu confirmed that Abueva was punished for missing practice following a night of drinking in a bar in Ortigas, Pasig City.
“We have a simple rule, if you’re not on practice today before a game, you don’t play. What’s important at the Alaska Aces franchise is that rule applies to everyone… we don’t apply it selectively,” Uytengsu said.
“So I support the coaching staff’s decision for him not to play. Calvin understands that. He was very apologetic to his teammates. He is trying to mature and develop as a person, not just as a basketball player, but as a person,” Uytengsu added.