By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

“THE BEAST” is back.

The Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters welcome a key piece back as star forward Calvin Abueva has been reinstated by the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) after a year and a half of suspension.

Suspended in July last year for conduct unbecoming of a professional and actions detrimental to the league, Mr. Abueva, 32, was given the go-signal to get back in action by the league at the weekend.

He is set to make his return on Monday when the Fuel Masters (3-2) play the NLEX Road Warriors (1-4) at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Pampanga.

Mr. Abueva’s reinstatement came after he fulfilled the requirements set by the league as well as after getting his license to play back from the Games and Amusements Board, the government agency that regulates professional sports in the country.

His return was also given on the condition that he adheres to certain guidelines, including actively participating in counselling programs, which was thoroughly discussed with him, Phoenix manager Paolo Bugia, and coach Topex Robinson in a meeting on Saturday.

The Beast, as Mr. Abueva is monickered for his aggressive and physical style of play, was suspended indefinitely in July 2019 for his clothesline hit on TNT import Terrence Jones, which nearly caused a huge fight, and a verbal altercation against fellow player Ray Parks’ girlfriend.

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial expressed hope that Mr. Abueva had learned his lesson and would conduct himself in a manner befitting his stature as a professional player from here on.

Mr. Abueva said he is relieved that his suspension is over and thanked his family and supporters for sticking with him when he was out.

Phoenix is currently sporting a 3-2 record, good for joint fourth place, in the PBA Philippine Cup. It won its last game versus the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, 91-84, to halt a two-game losing streak.