Calvin Abueva was cut from the second window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, got back in the lineup, but then went missing in action for the Alaska Aces before returning to Gilas Pilipinas for the third window.
What happened to Abueva?
"Depression and stress. I'm telling you, I'm going to return as 'The Beast' again, how I've always played since I got to the PBA until now. The things happening to me are complicated, a real struggle. That's why I want a new beginning," Abueva said.
Despite all his personal turmoil, Abueva chose not to skip playing for the national team. He said he cannot turn down a chance to play for flag and country.
"It's been a dream of mine to play for the national team since 2000. When I entered the league in 2012, a year after we became Commissioner's Cup champions. At the time, I really wanted to join the national team but an opportunity never presented itself. But in 2015, I was able to become part of the Jones Cup team who placed second. From there my journey with Gilas continued," he said. "That's why I'm really happy that I'm still with Gilas, after all the things I've been through."
Before going missing for Alaska, Abueva reinvented himself -- sporting a jersey with the number 88 in the PBA instead of the usual 8. He called the change "The Beast 2.0."
But Calvin said he will go back to the wearing the No. 8 jersey and vowed to make things right with the Alaska Aces.
"I want to apologize to Alaska for the depression I went through. They still accepted me, but there are some things that are complicated which need to change. But when I return [to the Philippines], I will do everything I can to come back to my team."
"I just want to get past this [Gilas duty] first before I return to Alaska," he said. "But I want to thank the Alaska management, that even though they suspended me indefinitely, they still allowed me to play for Gilas. Because this is such a huge thing," said Abueva. "I'm really thankful they didn't suspend me from playing for Gilas as well."
Gilas coach Chot Reyes said playing for the national team has given Abueva needed perspective.
"I think that's what Calvin is able to relate to, that sometimes we have a lot of personal issues, and his personal life is a bit complicated, but when he's with Gilas he can put all of that aside because it's for a bigger purpose," Reyes said. "So like I said, for him, Gilas is a family and he's always treated as family, regardless of what's going on in his personal life."
For now, Abueva waits for the call-up and opportunity to play again.