CALVIN Abueva’s PBA reinstatement still hangs in the balance, but Phoenix coach Louie Alas is trying to make sure the odds tilt in favor of the do-it-all forward.
One way to do that is to make sure Abueva remains with the Fuel Masters and Alas is already working to make that happen.
“Kinakausap ko na ang management para i-renew contract ni Calvin o kaya i-extend man lang muna tulad ng directive ng PBA,” Alas told Malaya-Business Insight.
“Mahirap makakuha ng player na katulad ng kalibre niya kaya ganyang meron ka ng isang Abueva ayaw mo namang mawala siya sa free agency.”
In a meeting last July 11, the PBA agreed to automatically extend the contracts of players with expired or expiring deals until the end of the Philippine Cup, which is hoped to be played out by January at the latest.
Per the PBA directive, the teams also have the option of not signing any player with an expired contract, making him an automatic free agent.
According to the PBA, 49 players have expiring deals in the coming months up to November, when the season should have ended but now has been drastically altered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Abueva tops the list of Phoenix players with expiring contracts, with his old pact inherited from Alaska about to end on Aug. 31.
Other players like Jason Perkins, Dave Marcelo, Jake Pascual and RR Garcia also have expiring contracts and Alas also wants to keep them all.
The coach’s immediate focus, however, remains fixed on Abueva.
What probably keeps Phoenix management from automatically extending Abueva’s contract is the fact that his indefinite suspension, slapped on him by Commissioner Willie Marcial since last year’s Commissioner’s Cup, has yet to be lifted.
Alas said Abueva has completed all but one of the PBA requirements for reinstatement.
In a previous interview, Alas said that Abueva needs just a few more sessions with a PBA-assigned psychiatrist to complete his psychological evaluation mandated by the league.
“Isa na lang ang kailangan niya, then na-kumpleto na niya. Kung hindi nga lang nag-ka-COVID matagal na niyang natapos,” Alas said.
“In fact, kung susumahin mo, lagpas-lagpas na siya du’n sa ibang requirements,” added Alas. “Pero last but not least ‘yung huli kaya kailangan talaga niyang tapusin.”
Should Abueva complete his psychological requirements, Marcial said the player known as ‘The Beast’ would still have to be evaluated by the PBA.