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Perseverance pays off as Abueva makes "Final 12" despite initial drop

Upon finally showing up, Calvin Abueva showed his Gilas pedigree during practices. Denver Lachica (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Calvin Abueva was initially cut from the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the second FIBA World Cup Qualifier window due to consecutive absences during the first three practices.

"He took it very professionally," said Coach Chot Reyes on Wednesday when he informed him of the first decision following a call. "He understood that it was going to be unfair to the other players who were not missing practice if he would still be considered for the second window."

Abueva called Reyes after the announcement was made to explain his absences.

But as fate would have it, the tenacious Alaska wingman will be playing on Thursday against Australia.

And credit that to Abueva's dedication to help the team even if he may have to wait for the third window in July to get back to national team action.

"Even if he knew he was not going to be in the Final 12 for the second window, he never missed any practice. He did whatever we asked of him, whether it's as practice player or member of the scouting team," Reyes continued.

The injuries to Troy Rosario and Mac Belo prompted Reyes to give Abueva the go-signal to suit up for Gilas against the Boomers in Melbourne.

Reyes, however, revealed that Abueva was brought back into consideration as early as two weeks ago.

On why Reyes kept mum despite an early report last week surfaced about Abueva's inclusion to the "Final 12", the coach said, "We decided to keep very quiet because we want to keep our cards close to out chest."
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