Magnolia took a big leap in improving its frontline rotation after the 2014 PBA Grand Slam champions acquired Calvin Abueva from Phoenix Super LPG in a swap of key players and picks in the upcoming rookie draft
Along with Abueva, the Hotshots also received the Fuel Masters’ 1st round pick (10th overall) in exchange for Chris Banchero and the team’s first and second round picks (6th and 18th).
The deal was approved without need for revisions by the league’s trade committee Wednesday morning.
“We are looking forward doon kasi sa makakuha ng at least ‘yung position na kulang namin. ‘Yung opportunity na dumating, I need to grab that opportunity,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero shortly after the trade was made official.
The 33-year old Abueva is coming off a remarkable showing during the 2020 Philippine Cup as the Best Player of the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup hardly showed signs of rust despite coming off an 18-month layoff due to suspension.
‘The Beast’ submitted averages of 15.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 35 minutes of action and was even instrumental in the Fuel Masters’ quarterfinal round win over the Hotshots. His performance earned him nominations for both the Best Player of the Conference and Samboy Lim Sportsmanship awards.
Victolero, although saddened by the departure of Banchero, admitted that getting an opportunity to acquire a player of Abueva’s caliber was just too good to pass up.
“Although we lost Banchero which is masasabi ko na sobrang wala akong problema because of his attitude at work ethic, mahirap lang bitawan but the problem is I don’t want to lose that opportunity to grab Calvin because alam namin ‘yung mabibigay niya sa team niya at matutulong niya plus the position na malalaro niya, ‘yun ang kulang namin,” explained the former PBA player.
“Win-win situation for both teams because ‘yung position na kulang namin maibibigay ni Calvin, ‘yung position na kulang naman nila, mabibigay ni Chris plus the fact na they can get an early pick sa drafting. Win-win situation for both teams.”