PBA Commissioner’s Cup

Collegiate connections in play as San Miguel, Magnolia tangle for PBA crown

Delfin Dioquino

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Collegiate connections in play as San Miguel, Magnolia tangle for PBA crown

FLEX. Calvin Abueva in action for the Magnolia Hotshots in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

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Players from San Miguel and Magnolia either want to rekindle their success or complete their unfinished business in the collegiate ranks

MANILA, Philippines – Collegiate connections spice up the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals as San Miguel and Magnolia battle in a best-of-seven series starting on Friday, February 2, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Players from both teams either want to rekindle their success or complete their unfinished business in the collegiate ranks.

The Hotshots’ Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang hope to win a championship on the biggest stage of Philippine basketball after sharing multiple titles in the past.

Sangalang and Abueva, two-thirds of the famed “Pinatubo Trio” with Ronald Pascual, powered San Sebastian to an NCAA crown in 2009 and won a pair of titles in the PBA D-League and Philippine Basketball League.

Despite going their separate ways when they made the jump to the PBA, with Abueva and Sangalang both drafted second overall in 2012 and 2013, respectively, the two eventually reunited in Magnolia.

After stops in Alaska and Phoenix, Abueva got traded to the Hotshots in 2021, paving the way for a shot at capturing a PBA championship with Sangalang.

“If we become champions here in the PBA, it will be a memory that we’ll never forget,” said Sangalang in Filipino.

On the Beermen side, Adamson products Don Trollano, Jericho Cruz, and Rodney Brondial seek to win a title together with former Soaring Falcons head coach Leo Austria, who now serves as team consultant for San Miguel.

Trollano already bagged a championship with Cruz in 2016 during their time in Rain or Shine and he aims to replicate that feat alongside Brondial and Austria.

“It will be super special because this is a championship that you’ll never forget,” said Trollano. “We talk about it in practice that this is the best chance for us to win a championship together.”

Battling in the finals for the third time in six years, San Miguel shoots for a record-extending 29th crown, while Magnolia guns for a 15th title. – Rappler.com

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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.