UPDATE 2 – Alaska Aces star Calvin Abueva, who busted his lip during Gilas Pilipinas practice last Monday, will be wearing a protective mask when he returns to action on Friday against the Phoenix Fuel Masters.
“Bukas nga maglalaro na ako eh,” Abueva told InterAksyon during Gilas Pilipinas practice on Thursday night.
Alaska coach Alex Compton said the hardworking forward sat out the past few days of practices with the Aces due to the injury. He was scheduled for an appointment with the doctor and was measured up for a mask on Thursday.
Compton said that Abueva, who received eight stitches in his lip after being accidentally elbowed by Almond Vosotros, wasn’t allowed to play without a protective mask.
“He’s not allowed to do any physical activity,” Compton told InterAksyon. “If the mask won’t be available by Friday, he won’t be allowed to play as per the doctor’s instruction.”
Abueva’s mask, according to Compton, is unique as it will cover his entire face, including his lip, unlike other regular masks which usually shield an injured nose bridge, cheek bone or eye.
“It means the mask is being made for Calvin to cover him up all the way down to the mouth. I’m also curious to see how it looks like,” Compton said.
But Abueva said that despite the mask, he is ready to play. He will even attend the national team’s training session on Monday.
Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes admired Abueva’s dedication.
“I don’t think you can keep Calvin away from practice. Gustung-gusto niya parating mag-practice. It’s just a question of if he’s ready to practice, but you can’t keep him away from practice,” Reyes said.