A new and improved Calvin Abueva

EVER heard of the phrase new and improved?

That applies probably to detergent powder, soft drinks or canned juice drinks, but it also best suits Calvin Abueva, a more mature, more focused and more determined player, who has been proving to be a vital cog for the Alaska Aces’ campaign.

Once perceived as the ultimate villain inside the court, Abueva has become a role model not just for his team, but for fans as well.

No more taunting. No more dagger looks to opponents. No more extra curricular activities during plays.

What you see is a different Abueva. His version 2.0. Pure hard work, pure adrenalin, all business and more respectful to opposing players and rival teams.

His transformation could be attributed to his coach Alex Compton, who in the latter stage of last season, was asked to take over from Luigi

Under Compton, Alaska players have become more relaxed.

They finally got out of the box.

For 20 years, they’ve been running a complicated system called the triangle offense, a structured offense, whose movements are broken down into details as if you’re doing a rehearsal for a dance play.

Under Compton, Alaska used a more free-flowing system. The team let its offense flow from its defense. They make stops. They run. As simple as that.

They move the ball well and look for a player, who has better opportunities scoring. With this new system, players like Abueva, Cyrus Baguio, JVee Casio and even Sonny Thoss and Tony dela Cruz, perhaps the longest-tenured player among anyone from the roster, are able to become more creative.

Players started to think out of the box. The best solution to beat their opponents doesn’t necessarily rely on how they run the triangle precisely.

Alaska’s wins are based more on the effort department.

But most of all, the Aces have been successful with Abueva playing with more focus due to the sudden change of his personality inside the court.

He is third in the league on scoring (17 points per game) and second in the league in rebounding (13.9) at the end of the elims.

In a league where big men are supposed to dominate, here comes Abueva, barely standing 6-foot-2, doing a monster job inside and ready to cut down the giants to size.

Any team would want to have a player like Abueva. His teammates love him more now.

For the opposing teams, that spells bad news. You don’t want to face someone like Abueva, who has boundless of energy.

For the fans, it’s good to watch Abueva now because they’re more fascinated than pissed off.

Anyone wants to have a new and improved Abueva?

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