Abueva and Mendoza not related by blood, just bonded by energy

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jan 12, 2017 01:39 PM
Abueva, Mendoza not related by blood, just bonded by energy
BEFORE AND AFTER. Fierce foes in the NCAA, Calvin Abueva and Jaypee Mendoza are now teaming up to bring the pain for Alaska.

After Alaska eked out a much-needed victory versus Star last Wednesday, coach Alex Compton was all smiles.

And why wouldn’t he after witnessing the all-out effort of his Aces.

Of course, leading the charge was Calvin Abueva who wound up with 23 points, nine rebounds, four steals, two assists, and one block in 35 minutes.

Along with Abueva, however, Compton also singled out Jaypee Mendoza.

The little-known player only had one point and six rebounds in 17 minutes, but his relentless motor, very much like that of “The Beast,” was all his mentor saw. “I think we have to check. Maybe Calvin and Jaypee are first cousins,” he said.

Apparently, Mendoza was indeed doing his best impersonation of Abueva. As he put it, “Si Calvin kasi, energy guy so lahat kami, nahahawa sa energy niya. Ganun kami lahat maglaro na gusto namin, mataas yung energy namin.”

However, the Tarlac native was pretty sure his family had no connection whatsoever to Pampanga’s pride. “Parehas lang kaming taga-north tapos parehas Kapampangan ang language,” he expressed while laughing.

Nonetheless, Mendoza said he had nothing but respect for his rival-turned-teammate. “Si Calvin, mataas yung tingin ko sa kanya. College pa lang nakakalaban ko na tapos pagdating dito (sa Alaska), lagi akong excited na makatapat sa practice kasi marami akong matutunan sa kanya,” he shared.

In college, Mendoza suited up for San Beda College while Abueva represented San Sebastian College-Recoletos.

He then continued, “Yun yung dinadala ko rito sa game. Sila rin naman yung tumutulong sa akin, yung teammates ko.”

Indeed, the once Red Lion did a lot of learning as a practice player for the Aces from the time he was drafted in 2014 until late 2015. “Ang ginagawa ko every practice, binibigay ko yung best ko. ‘Di ko iniisip na practice player ako, basta every day, nagko-compete ako hanggang mabigyan ako ng chance,” he said.

Now he has that chance, Mendoza was nothing but grateful. “Thankful lang ako kina coach and sa teammates ko kasi sila naman yung tumutulong sa akin. Sinusuklian ko lang yung binibigay nilang opportunity sa akin,” he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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