The Bleachers King: The Beast unleashed or on a leash?

By Rick Olivares

Posted at Oct 16 2012 12:59 PM | Updated as of Oct 16 2012 08:59 PM

The San Sebastian Stags’ recent glory run is over. The Pinatubo Trio of Calvin Abueva, Ian Sangalang and Ronald Pascual is done. The Letran Knights put an end to that. The Stags hoped to go for one last title shot but it’s all over for them. Now Abueva will bring his death-defying style of play to the PBA and the Alaska Aces who drafted him.

Just wondering about Alaska. I know that Tim Cone is still pretty much a sore topic (at least for management) but I find it weird that the Aces still run the Triangle Offense and they still wear ties like it was the good old days. What gives! Will you find your own identity?

But back to Abueva. How will the Beast fit in the triangle? From Baste to NLEX, Abueva’s teams have played uptempo if not a street kind of ball. The Triangle, while predicated on movement, post play and what the defense gives, will need the ball moving around. In Baste, they ran the archangel offense (essentially it’s to give the ball to Calvin and pray, ‘Save us!’).

I’d like to say yes but realistically I don’t think so. I’d love to be proven wrong of course.

When Joel Banal took over from Cone I found it weird that they would go back and forth from the Triangle to some other sets. The team suffered from that. I guess they committed to it now.

Some interesting sub-plots here. In Alaska, Abueva rejoins former head coach Topex Robinson who he had problems with (and that is an understatement). Also on that Alaska bench is Louie Alas who coaches Letran in the NCAA. While Abueva’s Stags reserved most of their venom for San Beda, they still left enough for Letran and I had a front row seat to those battles. Maybe what happened in the NCAA stays in the NCAA. Or does it?

Will Abueva still play that rough and frenetic style of his in the PBA? If he does, how long before his first pro fight breaks out? Knowing the culture of Alaska they are going to frown upon any dirty play. So will the Beast be unleashed on will he be on a leash?

On another note once more: I love the new Alaska lineup of Nic Belasco, Sam Eman, Cyrus Baguio, Raphy Reyes, Sonny Thoss, Niño Gelig, Mac Baracael, Paolo Bugia, Brandon Cablay, Dondon Hontiveros, Gabby Espinas, RJ Jazul, Tony dela Cruz, JV Casio and Eddie Laure.

There’s a reunion of Smart Gilas guys in Baracael and Casio, as well as the UST duo of Baguio and Gelig.

During Alaska’s first two matches, Coach Luigi Trillo started Tony dela Cruz at the three-spot. In their last outing, a win against Barako, it was Hontiveros who started at small forward. The others are constants – Thoss at center, Baracael at power forward, Baguio and Casio in the back. Abueva at the four will cause nightmares for opposing teams. He’s not the tallest but he sure can rebound.

Alaska averages only 36.6 rebounds per game. Their opponents average 51.6 boards an outing. Abueva will surely help in that department. His last game for the Stags was insane – 21 points and 22 rebounds.

The Aces are 1-2. The Abueva watch is on.

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