MANILA, Philippines - Calvin Abueva, who had to attend to his wife who’s laboring in a nearby hospital, came in late for the game but in time to propel Manila North to a 21-11 trouncing of Xinzhuang and to an outright entry into the knockout stage of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters at the SM Megamall yesterday.
Showing up when his team was down to one man, Abueva immediately buckled down to work and powered his way to 10 of their last 12 points as Manila North disposed of the sixth-ranked team from Chinese Taipei and gained safe passage into the eight-team playoffs set today.
Manila West, composed of Terrence Romeo, KG Canaleta, Rey Guevarra and Aldrech Ramos, and Manila South, made up of young players who ruled the national 3x3 tourney, also reached the KO stage of the kickoff event of the 2014 FIBA 3x3 World Tour that culminates with the world final in Tokyo in October.
Manila East, the fourth Phl team bannered by Cebuano hotshot Jerie Pingoy, was battling Yogyakarta at press time for the last playoffs spot.
Abueva, the 2013 PBA Rookie of the Year, came in to rescue his team after Ian Sangalang went down with a sprained ankle then Vic Manuel also had to sit down with a cut below his right eye sustained in a rebound play.
Abueva and Jake Pascual more than held their own against three rivals, delivering the KO punch on Xinzhuang which earlier suffered a 13-20 defeat to Auckland in Group C play.
“I got caught in a tremendous traffic jam. To make the game, I parked my car in front of the mall,” said an apologetic Abueva.
In a two-to-three battle, Abueva and Pascual opted to defend the post, giving Xinzhuang the outside shots.
“Good thing, they were not able to make their outside shots,” said Abueva.
A little later, Abueva and his teammates yielded group top honors to Auckland in an 11-16 loss.
Reigning champion Jakarta beat Manila South, 21-12, for top seeding in Group A while newly crowned world champ Doha bested Manila West, 21-17, in a highly physical encounter for a two-zero sweep in Group B.
Surayaba, composed of Indon national players, topped Group D following a 14-12 nipping of Yogyakarta then a 14-13 decision over Manila East.
Romeo and his Manila West teammates booked spot in the playoffs with a 21-9 rout of Kobe while Manila South advanced with a 17-13 victory over Medan.