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MANILA, Philippines – Calvin Abueva has kept his emotions in check since he figured in a pair of controversies in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals.
And his self-restraint has translated into an improved showing as Abueva played a key role in helping Magnolia tie the best-of-seven series against San Miguel at 2-2.
The mercurial forward turned in his finest performance of the finals, making his presence felt in the Hotshots’ 96-85 win on Friday, February 9, with a near double-double of 9 points and 11 rebounds to go with 3 assists and 2 steals.
“He has been focused and controlled. Even in this game, we all saw how he controlled himself,” said Magnolia big man Ian Sangalang, who has been Abueva’s teammate since college.
Abueva found himself in hot water when he mocked the visual impairment of Beermen head coach Jorge Gallent in the fourth quarter of Game 2 last February 4.
Gallent wears an ocular prosthesis after losing his right eye in a motorcycle accident in 1988.
But the controversy did not end there as finals drama spilled off the court, with Abueva getting embroiled in another incident as he figured in a shouting match with the wife of San Miguel big man Mo Tautuaa just moments after Game 2 ended.
Aiming to turn over a new leaf, Abueva showed an improved version of himself in the last two games as the Hotshots pulled level with the Beermen even after losing the first two games by 32 points combined.
Putting up just 4.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in Games 1 and 2, Abueva hiked his numbers to 7.5 points and 9 rebounds with 2 assists in Games 3 and 4, which saw Magnolia hold San Miguel to an average of 82.5 points.
Those were a far cry from the 106 points the Beermen normed in the first two games.
Abueva has also minimized his fouling as he committed just three fouls in each of the last two games after recording nine fouls in Games 1 and 2 combined.
“We all know that Calvin has a lot of antics, but for these finals, we need him to be controlled throughout the series,” said Sangalang.
Game 5 is on Sunday, February 11. – Rappler.com