Comparisons between Calvin Abueva and CJ Perez have never been louder than before, but ‘The Beast’ thinks that hype train should slow down for a bit.
The two faced each other for the first time on Wednesday, where Phoenix bested Columbian to tally its third consecutive victory.
Abueva also bested ‘Baby Beast’ in an individual matchup. After a stellar 26-point debut in Columbian’s upset win against San Miguel, Perez slowed down offensively and scored only 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting from the field, although he still managed to post all-around numbers of eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks.
The Fuel Masters forward, on the other hand, put up 16 points (2-for-10), nine rebounds and three assists.
“Ang akin kung match lang, malayo pa,” Abueva answered when asked about the comparisons. “Parang sa akin, kung pagbabasehan, malaking agwat eh.”
The gulf between them, for Abueva, could be summed by one simple factor: Perez is a rookie who still has a lot of learning to do.
And while Abueva can’t do anything to help his on-court foe and off-court ‘brother’ improve his play, he did encourage him to keep pushing in order to not level off during his development years.
“Walang personalan. Ang sa amin, sabi ko nga, improve mo pa ang sarili mo, sa laro mo. Hindi ko naman masa-suggest na ganito gawin mo, ganito gawin mo. Hindi naman ganoon, hindi naman kami magka-teammate di ba. Magkalaban kami sa court, pero ang akin lang, sa labas, kapatid ang turing ko sa kanya, walang personalan sa akin,” he said.
“Huwag siyang masyadong guarantee sa mga nilalaro niya ngayon. Dapat, i-force niya pa, i-push niya pa, para mas mag high level pa yung galawan niya sa loob. Kasi rookie pa lang eh, rookie pa lang. Siyempre marami tayong naiisip about sa rookie, pero improve mo muna ang sarili mo sa pro, bago ka mag-high level,” he added.
For his part, Abueva is just focused on bringing the wins to Phoenix.
“Ang sa akin naman, I want to win the game, hindi matches lang ang pinag-uusapan. Eto ‘yung game na mananalo kayo, hindi yung keso ganyan, keso ganito, ilang points ka, ilang points ako. Ang bitter naman siguro noon. Ang inaano dito, kung ano yung team na mananalo, di ba,” he said.
So far, they’re doing well on that end. The Fuel Masters are on top of the standings after speeding to a franchise-best 3-0 start in the Philippine Cup, but Abueva acknowledged that they’re not a lock for the playoffs since they have a lot of creases to fix early in the eliminations.
“Hindi pa kami guaranteed sa mga nangyayari sa amin, sa mga game namin. Siguro masasabi namin yan pag nasa playoffs na kami. Tsaka siyempre, itong team na ‘to, ilang years pa lang naglalaro, tapos ngayon parang tuma-top seed na, parang umaangat na,” Abueva said.
“Hindi naman sinabing malakas na. Ang amin, chemistry lang, kung ano yung ginagawa, at kung ano yung sinasabi ni coach sa amin.”