MANILA, Philippines – Calvin Abueva shook off the pain of an ankle injury to once again provide a spark for the Alaska Aces, as the enigmatic forward tallied a double-double in Alaska’s 104-97 victory over the top-seeded Ginebra Kings in the PBA Philippine Cup.
It was the third time that Alaska had survived a knockout game, and they will face Ginebra in another do-or-die showdown.
Abueva had his fingerprints all over the victory, out-hustling and out-jumping the tall Ginebra frontline for rebounds on his way to a 16-point, 11-rebound, four-assist performance.
“I didn’t think he could play with a sprain, but he’s motivated,” Alaska head coach Luigi Trillo told PBA.ph of Abueva, who suffered an ankle sprain in their game against Meralco last Monday.
Abueva got even more banged up when he crashed to the floor late in the first quarter and was the recipient of a flagrant foul 1 from Ginebra’s Mark Caguioa, yet stayed in the game.
“Talagang sabi ko sa sarili ko, kapag naka-survive kami against Meralco, babawi ako sa susunod na laro,” said Abueva.
In a separate interview with Spin.ph, Abueva acknowledged that it was special feeling to beat Ginebra in the playoffs.
“Masarap talagang kalaban ang Ginebra kapag ganyan,” said the former NCAA MVP.
It has been a difficult conference for the player known as "The Beast," but he picked the perfect time to elevate his game even with a painful injury.
“Parang hindi ko na iniinda ‘yung sakit. Ayun, gumanda ang laro ko, so ngayon, paghahandaan pa namin ang game para makapasok sa semis,” Abueva said.
Alaska and Ginebra will tangle in their do-or-die game on Saturday.