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By JONAS TERRADOCalvin Abueva would rather impart on the knowledge he got from previous international experiences than embrace the leadership role for Gilas Pilipinas ahead of major international competitions starting with next month’s SEABA Championship.
Abueva’s energy on both ends and unique style of playing games with opponents have made it easy for some to make him to de facto leader of the latest Gilas squad that will have a mix of veteran national players and PBA rookies.
The enigmatic forward of the Alaska Aces, however, insisted that he’s no leader, but doesn’t he is not willing to share his inputs.
“Di ko kukunin yung maging leader ako, basta ako kung anu yung mga natutunan ko nung 2015 nung nag-Gilas ako, yun lang ang maise-share ko,” Abueva said earlier this week when Gilas underwent three straight practices prior to the Lenten break.
“Wala man akong maise-share about sa international, ako nalalaman ko kung anu yung mga napuntahan ko, yung mga natutunan ko, yun ang maise-share ko,” he added. “Pero di ako magse-share nung di ko natutunan, para bang marunong ako, di naman ako ganun. Kung anu yung mabigkas, yun yung sa akin.”
He is favored to make the 12-man lineup for Gilas in the SEABA tilt slated May 10 to 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The top team in the seven-nation field will qualify for the FIBA Asia Cup, a qualifier for the 2019 World Cup, in Lebanon this August.
Abueva, nicknamed The Beast, hasn’t don the national colors in a major international competition since his debut in 2015 when his style of play nearly helped Gilas win the FIBA Asia Championship and a spot in the 2016 Rio Olympics, losing to host China in the final held in Changsha.
He nearly made the Gilas roster in last year’s Olympic Qualfying Tournament which was held at the Mall of Asia Arena, but was the final cut after a series of tune-up games overseas. Abueva is expected to make up for lost time in this latest Gilas version under returning coach Chot Reyes.
Abueva hopes to solidify a spot in the Gilas roster two weeks from now when the Nationals play a series of games against some of the PBA’s best in the league’s All-Star Week on April 26 in Cagayan de Oro City, April 28 in Lucena City and April 30 in Cebu City.