Calvin Abueva was a steady force for Phoenix during the PBA bubble. (PBA Images)

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial lauded Calvin Abueva for the way the Phoenix Super LPG star conducted himself during his comeback from a 16-month suspension.

Abueva proved why he has learned his lesson from the two misconducts that prompted Marcial to slap an indefinite suspension in June 2019 with a mixture of his signature rugged style and restraint, almost helping the Fuel Masters reach the Finals of the PBA Philippine Cup bubble.

His performance in the recent bubble resulted in Phoenix management rewarding Abueva with a three-year contract extension estimated at P15.12 million.

“Tuwang-tuwa ako sa ginawa ni Calvin,” Marcial said in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum which was the last online session for the calendar.

Marcial saw a lot of changes in Abueva’s approach to every game since his reinstatement in late-October.

“Makikita mo na nandun pa din yung pagiging pisikal pero hindi na yung nang-aasar. At pag may natutumbang player, kakampi niya o hindi, binubuhat niya,” said Marcial.

There were some instances when Abueva helped TNT star and old nemesis Ray Parks Jr. during their semifinal series that saw Phoenix fall a win short of advancing to the Finals for the first time in franchise history.

He also carried most of the load for the Fuel Masters in that series amid an ankle injury that limited the production of ace scorer Matthew Wright, resulting in regular double-double efforts.

Read: Abueva is back

“Pag nagcoconcentrate siya sa game, nagtitriple-double, nakaka-20 points and above at pag rebound double-digits. So ang laking tuwa ko kay Calvin dahil ang laki ng inimprove niya,” the PBA chief said.

Abueva placed second to Parks in the Statistical Points race after the Philippine Cup with averages of 15.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.7 steals in 12 games.

Read: Parks is bubble stats champ; three Gin Kings in top 10

That has put Abueva in strong consideration for the Best Player of the Conference which will be awarded in mid-January.

The bubble has seen the best of what Abueva can be as long as he can avoid any extra-curriculars, and it will be up to him solely to maintain such an approach for the rest of his playing career.

Source: Manila Bulletin (