It’s nice to see Calvin Abueva in action again.
Let’s face it – the PBA could use color.
There’s not much.
Now I am not saying that Abueva needs to pick up where he left off. On the contrary, it’s right for him to do the thing he loves… which is giving his family all the financial support could give.
Still, his entry could create something unreal the league has never seen before.
The last time this lineage won a Finals berth was during the 2008 PBA Fiesta Conference. As the Air21 Express, they were a win away from winning their only championship in league history. Back then, the team had the likes of Arwind Santos, Ranidel De Ocampo, Gary David, Nino Canaleta, Homer Se, and Wynne Arboleda.
That team could have ruled the league with an iron fist!
Most of the time, they were either cannon fodders or soon-to-be cannon fodders because they would constantly sell their assets to either the San Miguel Corporation and the Manny V. Pangilinan Group. Enrico Villanueva and Paul Artadi have played for Ginebra, Purefoods, San Miguel, and Barako Bull, and for The Raging Bull, this sent his career to spiral downward.
Also, they made this insane move wherein Air21 and Barako Bull exchanged franchise names.
This franchise placeholder started out hot with the Tanduay Rhum Masters dominating everyone with Alfrancis Chua at the helm and the likes of Eric Menk and Sonny Alvarado before bowing out after a string of unfortunate incidents. And then they because the FedEx Express and later became the Air21 Express because their parent company... sucks. And then they became Barako Bull in which their conduit-ness went through the roof.
Now as the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, they have the chance to claim their first title. Topex Robinson knows how to win and with Calvin Abueva’s re-entry, this group of scrappy do-gooders could win the plum.
Sure, standing in front of them is TNT Tropang GIGA. And despite losing June Mar Fajardo at the start of the season and Terrence Romeo in the early part of it, San Miguel’s maxim of Fear the Beer is still right on the dot.
The Fuel Masters have their own Big Three now with Abueva, Matthew Wright, and Jason Perkins and it does help that Justin Chua has emerged from the spotlight. With the right blend of vets led by JC Intal, RR Garcia, Dave Marcelo, Brian Heruela, and RJ Jazul, I can see Phoenix going up against TNT, San Miguel, and Ginebra in the Philippine Cup Finals especially if they continue their excellent gameplay.