Alaska’s Abueva hopes third time’s the charm in PBA Finals
MANILA, Philippines – Calvin Abueva fell short of a second PBA ring not once but twice last season. He does not want to fail a third time.
The energetic forward shared how the Alaska Aces are determined to succeed in the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup finals coming off two bridesmaids finishes last season.
“Mas determined kasi pangatlo ng finals namin ‘to tapos hindi pa namin makuha 'yung Drive for 15 kaya talagang go hard talaga kami nitong darating na finals na ito (We’re more determined now because this is our third finals already and we still can’t get our Drive for 15 so we’ll really go hard this finals),” the 27-year-old national team player said.
“Sana makuha na nga namin 'to e, this is the third time na nakapasok kami ng finals, sana makuha na namin 'to.” (I hope we get it this time, this is the third time we’re in the finals, I hope we get it.)
The Aces have another shot at the prestigious, most coveted all-Filipino championship as they entered the finals after defeating the Globalport Batang Pier in 5 games during their best-of-7 semifinals series.
A year ago Alaska endured a painful loss in the Philippine Cup finals to San Miguel Beer in a thrilling best-of-7 series that went the full distance, up until the final possession, as the Aces overturned a 23-point deficit only to be thwarted by the title-clinching 3-pointer of Arwind Santos with 43.7 seconds left.
"This is the third time na nakapasok kami ng finals, sana makuha na namin 'to."
In the season-ending Governors’ Cup, the Beermen barrelled through the Aces and swept them to win the trophy.
“During the last all-Filipino it was really just the details. We were so close, it was only one possession and we lost it. And then in the last Governors’ we were just out of it, we were really down,” shared Abueva in Filipino, who averaged 13.2 points, 3 rebounds and 2.4 assists in these semifinals.
“Now we’re really focused and this is really a mental game for us.”
“We will thoroughly go through our offensive plays and what we need to do on defense,” he added.
Alaska, who manhandled semifinals first-timer Globalport in 4 straight games after stumbling during the series opener, is back in the finals for the 29th time since joining the league in 1986. This is also its 10th finals appearance – and its first back-to-back since 1995-96 – in an all-Filipino conference.
The seasoned franchise is gunning for its 15th PBA title and, most important of all, raring to end a 16-year all-Filipino championship drought. The Aces were last crowned Philippine Cup champion at the end of the last millennium in 2000.
The team’s last title was in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup.
Abueva and the Aces aim to carry over their brand of team play to the finals, especially since it will be a rematch with defending champion San Miguel. The finals start on Sunday, January 17. – Rappler.com