Calvin Abueva rose with Phoenix, and he’s about to fly higher

It looks like ‘The Beast’ has finally settled down in his new lair.

After being traded to the Phoenix by the Alaska Aces three months ago, Calvin Abueva immediately made a huge impact as he helped the Fuel Masters finish second in the elimination round of the 2018 Governor’s Cup with an 8-3 record. It is the franchise’s best finish since joining the league in 2016.

Abueva averaged 15.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 13 games for Phoenix this conference. He was the second leading local player in rebounding, just behind Best Player of the Conference award frontrunner Christian Standhardinger.

‘The Beast’ looked rejuvenated as head coach Louie Alas really allowed him to be himself and unleash his full potential in Phoenix. After all, the team also desperately needed a huge boost after finishing in 10th place in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup.

Abueva wasted no time in repaying his coach’s trust as he had 12 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists in his debut game with Phoenix. “Calvin was being Calvin. That’s the reason we did everything to acquire him,” said Alas after his team notched their first win of the conference against the Columbian Dyip.

After leading the Fuel Masters to a 3-1 start, the controversial forward signed a three-year contract extension as a sign of his long-term commitment with the franchise. His relentless energy and hustle has rubbed off his teammates nicely as they looked to build on their impressive run in the conference.

In their last game of the eliminations and with the twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals on the line against the Blackwater Elite, Abueva made sure that they won’t be denied. He finished with 25 points and 8 rebounds, as Phoenix edged Blackwater for the crucial victory.

The Fuel Masters were one step closer into entering the semifinals for the first time in franchise history. However, they ran into a surging Meralco Bolts squad and wasted their twice-to-beat advantage as Abueva struggled heavily, shooting only nine out of 33 from the field in the two games combined.

Although he failed to lead Phoenix into the semifinal round, ‘The Beast’ can certainly lift his head up high. Despite all the off-court drama surrounding him, he is still playing at a high level and is really thriving under the guidance of coach Louie Alas.

Looking forward, the Fuel Masters have something to build on with Abueva on their side. With him, Matthew Wright and Jason Perkins forming a solid trio, they definitely have a chance to fly higher and go deeper into the playoffs next season.

(Art by: Jokas Dasmarinas)

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