It wasn’t too long ago when Terrence Romeo got the nod as All-Star game MVP over Calvin Abueva.
Palawan was the host of the 2015 PBA All-Star Weekend, and it was there where Abueva suffered a controversial defeat in the awarding of the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player.
The North All-Stars, where Romeo and Abueva are teammates, rallied from 10 points down at the start of the 4th to post a 166-161 victory over their Southern counterparts.
Abueva scored 37 points, hauled down 16 rebounds and issued 7 assists while Romeo had 30 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist.
For some reason, despite superior numbers by Abueva, Romeo was still adjudged as the MVP of the 2015 edition of the All-Star Game.
Fast forward to 2017. The 12 players of Gilas Pilipinas for the 2017 SEABA Championship has just been announced and will play as one unit for the first time against the PBA Visayas All-Stars.
This time, Romeo and Abueva were teammates for the country’s national basketball team.
The PBA Visayas All-Stars took control of the ballgame from the start. And even with Romeo scoring heavily for Gilas, the more senior All-Stars, mentored by the most successful coach in league history in Tim Cone, kept the national team at bay with veteran plays and timely hits.
With time down to just over a minute in the 3rd Quarter, the PBA Visayas All-Stars were still up by 10 after a three-pointer by the ‘Negros Sniper’ Jeff Chan. Abueva, however, answered with his own triple then made another jumper and a transition basket to cut the deficit to just 3 going into the final quarter. Abueva scored Gilas’ final 11 points of the 3rd.
‘The Beast’ continued the onslaught in the 4th as he quickly rattled off 10 points in the first four minutes. Gilas grabbed the lead for good on an Abueva trey, 104-96 with 8:07 on the clock.
Romeo entered the game the same time Abueva was pulled out, with 7:35 remaining.
With momentum already on the side of Gilas, Fajardo, Rosario and Jalalon joined forces to put the game out of reach. The lead reached as high as 17 on a jumper by Raymond Almazan. Romeo scored only 2 points in the 4th, both on free throws.
Abueva scored 21 of his 26 points in the 2nd half. 11 to close the 3rd and 10 to open the 4th. Gilas was down by 10 with 1:21 remaining in the 3rd. When he was subbed out with 7:35 to go in the 4th, Gilas was already up by 8 and were already in control of the ballgame. Credit goes to none other than Calvin Abueva.
You don’t have to be a fan of Abueva or Alaska to know that ‘The Beast’ deserved MVP honors for the game. And just like in 2015, he was again robbed by the league of an award he truly deserved.
Okay, let’s say the Romeo deserved it too as some for sure would argue, but to take it all away from Abueva is such a despicable move. Why not name them co-MVPs? Surely, it could’ve been done. Just like the decision to name both Troy Rosario and Matthew Wright as co-MVPs of the Gilas Pilipinas vs PBA Mindadano All-Stars game which ended in a 114 draw. Fans would welcome the idea and more importantly give Abueva the recognition he richly deserves. Unfortunately, the PBA has reasons of its own. In refusing to recognize Abueva for his efforts, league credibility will surely take another hit and no amount of social media ‘pa-pogi’ can make up for it. – Ronald Agbada