PBA Philippine Cup

Gamble on foul-plagued Abueva pays off for Magnolia

Delfin Dioquino
Gamble on foul-plagued Abueva pays off for Magnolia

FIRST BLOOD. Calvin Abueva and Magnolia take Game 1 against Meralco.

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Hobbled with five fouls through three quarters, Calvin Abueva comes through at crunch time to power Magnolia past Meralco in Game 1 of the semifinals

Not even foul trouble could stop Calvin Abueva from unleashing his inner beast.

Hobbled with five fouls through three quarters, Abueva came through at crunch time to power Magnolia to an 88-79 comeback win over Meralco in Game 1 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Sunday, October 3.

Abueva scattered 8 of his 13 points in the final period on top of his 7 rebounds and 2 steals as the Hotshots fought back from a six-point deficit for a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

“Calvin getting into foul trouble affected my rotation. But the way Calvin looked at me during the fourth quarter, he really wanted to play,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero in Filipino.

“I just told him to take care of his last foul.”

Playing Abueva for almost the entire last period was a risky decision for Victolero, considering an early foul in the quarter would keep him out for the rest of the game.

The last time Abueva fouled out against the Bolts, the Hotshots blew a 13-point fourth-quarter lead and absorbed a heartbreaking 94-95 loss in the elimination round.

But the gamble paid off.

Abueva sparked the tide-turning 25-5 run with 4 straight points and capped it off with a steal and an assist to a Jio Jalalon bucket that gave Magnolia a comfortable 88-74 cushion with two minutes left.

“He was a big help. He got us rebounds and gave us energy on offense and defense,” Victolero said of Abueva.

“It really makes a difference having Calvin on the court.”

Abueva has been nothing but spectacular in his first season with Magnolia as he leads the statistical battle for the Best Player of the Conference award through the quarterfinals. – Rappler.com

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.