In sports, it’s common to hear about athletes being blessed with natural gifts. Most people think that because of those gifts, they are automatically destined for stardom. While it’s true that certain physical attributes are seemingly tailor-fit to give them an advantage over others, what helps them succeed goes beyond their physical tools.
What helps them succeed is a heart that never quits – a Heart on Fire.
In the Philippines, one such player is the Alaska Aces’ star forward, Calvin Abueva. Standing at 6’2”, Abueva would be considered an undersized point guard in the NBA. In the PBA, however, as anyone who’s watched him play would readily attest, this hasn’t stopped him from playing in a big way – big enough to earn Abueva the moniker of “The Beast.”
In his rookie season in the PBA, Abueva played well enough to be the second rookie in the MVP discussion and helped the Alaska Aces win the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup. On his third season, his elevated play resulted in two games with him tallying more than 20 points and rebounds, averaging 15.33 rebounds a game, earning him early comparisons to NBA legend Dennis Rodman. When he played for the Philippine national team Gilas Pilipinas, he earned the country’s respect by going up against some of the world’s most talented big men. Abueva is a player that will not shock you with his statistics – he is a player that will leave you in awe of his hustle, his willingness to take on any challenge, and most of all, his unwavering heart.
Starting out, every athlete possesses the same basic physical tools. What sets the greats apart is their refusal to compromise in their quest for greatness. Whether it’s waking up before dawn or staying for hours after practice to work on their game, being great means never just settling for being the best – it’s about constantly pushing the boundaries.
Greatness has to be earned. The question every aspiring athlete needs to ask themselves is, “Do I have the heart for it?”