Alas believes Abueva's ban will be lifted in time for PBA restart

Phoenix coach Louie Alas is confident that suspended forward Calvin Abueva will be reinstated by the PBA before the league restarts its Philippine Cup in September.

Alas said Abueva has been compliant with all the conditions set by league commissioner Willie Marcial.

"I really believe matatapos ni Calvin 'yan before mag-umpisa itong small closed circuit natin. Calvin is cooperating. Lahat ginagawa niya dahil gustong gusto niya ma-reinstate na siya," Alas said on Sports Page on Monday.

"Calvin's very remorseful because even during the pandemic, makikita mo very active siya sa mga dapat niyang gawin. Bale meron na lang isa pang pinapagawa si commissioner sa kanya at di na lang niya natapos pa because of the pandemic."

Abueva started joining Phoenix's practices during the latter part of 2019, which was actually a positive step towards his reinstatement.

Rusty players

Following the team managers and coaches' meeting with Marcial last week, Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy said his players are looking forward to continuing the season after the PBA got the nod from the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) to resume practices.

"As you know in our country, we already instituted some adjustments like no work, no pay, but for our players, we still pay them in full because of their contracts," explained Sy. "But the players are eager to come back and play to show the company that they are still very deserving and of course there's a big, financial burden on our side since our revenues have gone down really low."

"Pero tingin ko, very rusty lahat. Sabi ko nga, baka sa first week (of the resumption of the season), baka shouting defense lang. But joking aside, I believe the players will adapt quickly and they'll be competitive again in about two weeks' time," Sy added.

Alas agreed with Sy's observation, pointing out also the possible need for tune-up games, which Marcial had already ruled out.

"Expected na rusty lahat yan kasi mga four months kang walang nahaharap na hardcourt, e kelan pa kami magsa-start mag five-on-five," Alas said.

"Sabi nila maraming scientific training, pero ang basketball kailangan ilaro mo. Six months na tayo di naglalaro tapos sabi ni commissioner sa coaches meeting na walang tuneup games, so tuloy tuloy na lang agad sa conference. Medyo in a few games yan makakakita ka ng maraming lousy plays at maraming clumsy (plays) na mangyayari."

NorthPort team governor Erick Arejola, meanwhile, stressed that enforcing health protocols remains a top priority by the league and its teams to ensure everyone's safety.

"I guess everyone is excited but the priority of the league is the safety and health of the players, managers and fans," Arejola said. "We made a lot of preparations for us to be able to come back already so we will take it one step at a time. Hopefully, for the first few weeks of practice everyone will be healthy and Commissioner Willie will write to the IATF to get the approval for 5-on-5 practice already."