Calvin Abueva is back and Alaska, similarly, is back on the winning track.
The hardworking rookie Abueva brought his usual energy and the rest
of the Aces grinded out an 88-85 win over the Meralco Bolts in the PBA
Philippine Cup on Wednesday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Abueva led his team both in scoring and rebounding in his first game
back since being hospitalized due to nasal infection. He finished with
20 points, 18 rebounds and two steals in 36 minutes of play.
The barely 6-foot-2, do-it-all forward, was all over the floor –
hustling, chasing down loose balls and helping out on defense as well as
scoring and grabbing rebounds.
“Calvin is a warrior all his life. You see what he brings to the
table. He’s all over the place,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo. “He’s
not a dirty player, he rebounds, brings energy to the team and that
rubbed off on the rest of the team.”
Although Abueva proved to be steady all game long, the Aces needed
two crucial three-pointers from JVee Casio and Mac Baracael inside the
final two minutes to outlast the Bolts.
Casio, whose three-pointer hit the backboard before going in, tied the count for the last time at 82-all.
In the return play, the Bolts failed to execute, and the Aces
punished them by finding Baracael, who was wide open from the left
flank. The 6-foot-3 sophomore forward sank the trey for an 85-82 count,
with still more than a minute left.
Another unproductive thrust by the Bolts led to a fastbreak by Alaska
and Cyrus Baguio kept things well in hand for the Aces by finishing on
transition for an 87-82 lead.
Reynel Hugnatan completed a three-point play for the Bolts in the next play to give his team one last push.
With only 9.5 seconds left, Meralco opted to foul Casio, who split
his charities and left a window of opportunity for the Bolts.
Unfortunately, the Bolts’ Ronjay Buenafe missed a trey.
Cliff Hodge chased the ball and attempted from deep left while
drawing a contact from Abueva. The referees, however, waived the foul
called on Abueva after reviewing that there was no more time left on the
ALASKA 88 – Abueva 20, Baguio 19, Baracael 12, Thoss 12, Casio 9,
Espinas 7, Jazul 6, Dela Cruz 2, Eman 1, Reyes 0, Hontiveros 0.
MERALCO 85 – Ross 14, Cardona 14, Hodge 13, Hugnatan 11, Mercado 10, Borboran 9, Nabong 6, Reyes 5, Buenafe 3, Salvacion 0.
Quarters: 24-21, 43-34, 64-66, 88-85.