Santos glad not to face Abueva in semis, turns focus on Manuel

MANILA, Philippines – Arwind Santos and Calvin Abueva have fought in countless battles that the San Miguel Beermen forward knows how pesky and effective his Alaska Aces counterpart is.

That’s why Santos is relieved that Abueva, who is still sidelined due to an indefinite suspension, will not be suiting up in the best-of-5 semifinals duel between San Miguel and Alaska in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

“‘Di naman tayo magiging ipokrito ano, ayaw namin na makalaro siya kasi malaking bagay si Calvin,” Santos told reporters after the Beermen’s semifinals-clinching 106-102 win over the TNT KaTropa on Wednesday, July 11.

(I do not want to sound like a hypocrite, we do not want to play him because Calvin is a big factor for Alaska.) 

Nawi-weird-uhan lang ako, pero kita naman natin na kahit wala si Calvin, napakaganda ng nilalaro ng Alaska. What more kung andyan pa si Calvin? Baka mas madagdagan pa ‘yung run nila.”

(It is weird for me but we can see that even without Calvin, Alaska is still playing great. What more if Calvin is there? They will probably get stronger.)  

Abueva averaged 10.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.2 blocks in 5 games before he was slapped with an indefinite suspension following repetitive absences in practices and in a game. 

With his fellow Kapampangan no longer a problem, Santos, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, turns his focus on leading Best Player of the Conference candidate Vic Manuel.

Manuel has proven to be a handful this conference, finishing the elimination round with a local-leading 24.2 points to go with 6.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists and leading the Aces at second place and eventually, the semifinals. 

"The Muscleman" also broke the Beermen's hearts earlier this conference, draining a game-winner to lift Alaska to a 105-103 win in a out-of-town game last May 19. 

"Challenge siya sa akin. Alam naman natin si Vic, talagang nado-dominate 'yung position niya. Talagang maghahanda ako at bibigyan ko siya ng magandang depensa."

(He is a challenge for me. We know Vic, he dominates his position. I will prepare for him and I will provide great defense against him.) 

Schedule for Game 1 between San Miguel and Alaska is yet to be determined as the PBA awaits the winner between the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and GlobalPort Batang Pier, who will tangle in a rubber match on Thursday, July 12, at the Mall of Asia Arena.


Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.