HOISTING the Philippine Cup trophy for Magnolia is tops in Calvin Abueva’s priorities and not the Best Player of the Conference award.

“There’re many individual awards that came in my career, but I have only one PBA [Philippine Basketball Association] championship,” Abueva told BusinessMirror on Friday. “Individual awards are just bonuses. Winning a championship is the big deal.”

The 33-year-old Abueva, now playing  his eighth season for Magnolia, has been one of the most consistent players in the PBA bubble at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

He is ahead in the race for the Best Player of the Conference derby with statistical points standings of 35.36. He leads TNT’s Mikey Williams (35.39) and NorthPort’s Robert Bolick (35.27).

Abueva was a rookie when he helped Alaska win the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup.

He moved to Phoenix in pandemic year 2020 after he was given a reprieve from his indefinite suspension that ran for seven months. With Magnolia—he was traded in exchange with Chris Banchero in February 17—he’s been ranked 10th in scoring with 16.1 points and fourth in rebounds with 9.7—laced with 3.1 assists and 1.0 steal averages in the elimination round.

But Abueva stressed Magnolia’s run is a team effort.

“I have to give credit to my teammates Paul [Lee], Mark [Barroca], Ian [Sangalang] and the others,” he said. “My new team has the edge to win a title. And I think this is the best time, so I have to grab all the opportunities to make it happen.”

The Hotshots swept the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters—81-70 and 96-86—to reach the best-of-seven semifinals where they could face either Meralco or NLEX, which will play sudden-death on Saturday.

“Whoever our opponent will be we’re ready,” said Abueva, whose feeling at home in Clark which is located in his native Angeles City.

Abueva said he is motivated more than ever especially by his family.

“I need to work hard, play hard and save for my family,” he said. “They are my motivation and inspiration.”

He has five kids with his wife Sam—Clint Joseph, Calvin James, DeAndre Calvin, LaMarcus Calvin and Alejandro Calvin.

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