PBA Commissioner’s Cup

No outside noise: Magnolia keeps new Abueva antics out of finals Game 3 preparations

JR Isaga

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No outside noise: Magnolia keeps new Abueva antics out of finals Game 3 preparations

DOWN TO WORK. Magnolia forward Calvin Abueva scraps for the ball against San Miguel in Game 3 of the 2023 PBA Commissioner's Cup finals

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Magnolia looks to put controversial star Calvin Abueva's newest string of issues in the rearview mirror as it continues its uphill PBA finals climb against favored San Miguel

MANILA, Philippines – Controversial PBA star Calvin Abueva has once again been the talk of the town in local basketball circles, and again, for all the wrong reasons.

Involved in a post-finals Game 2 shouting match with Mo Tautuaa’s family and fined P100,000 for taunting San Miguel coach Jorge Gallent’s disability, the 36-year-old Magnolia veteran somehow evaded suspension and showed up to work on Wednesday, February 7, ready for Game 3.

Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero admitted that, while they have not been living under a rock amid these fresh issues, the team solely focused on preparing for their third encounter with the Beermen in an effort to avoid falling to a 0-3 series hole.

Fortunately for Magnolia, its tunnel-vision commitment to the game worked wonders, as it earned a gritty 88-80 win to enter the Commissioner’s Cup finals win column and snap San Miguel’s franchise-best-tying 11-game winning streak.

“We did not talk about [Abueva’s issues] in practice, none of that,” Victolero said in Filipino. “We were very busy preparing for this game. No issues, nothing.”

“We removed all distractions from our camp and just focused on the preparations. The players are doing a very, very good job on the mental aspect of the preparations.”

Even Abueva himself was not keen on attracting yet another spotlight on himself even after a hard-fought win, as he literally ran away from the media outside the Magnolia locker room at the Araneta Coliseum, never to return.

Basketball-wise, the two-time Best Player of the Conference was on point on Wednesday night, tallying 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 block in 18 minutes off the bench, and provided the intangible hustle he has been known for his entire career.

Overall, the Hotshots were a concerted, menacing unit on defense in Game 3, as they held San Miguel below 90 points for the first time this conference and shackled super import Bennie Boatwright to a hard-earned 27-point line on 10-of-28 shooting with 8 turnovers.

Offensively, the scoring duties were also evenly distributed, as Mark Barroca led six Magnolia players in double-digit scoring with an efficient 20-point outing. Import Tyler Bey took a backseat with 11 points, while Paul Lee got much-needed momentum and finished with 12 off the bench.

On the court, the Hotshots have enough on their hands as it is due to their nagging inconsistencies, all while facing arguably the best collection of talent in the PBA today.

Entertaining the Abueva shenanigans – while necessary at some point in the near future – would have likely been the death blow to Magnolia’s uphill campaign. – Rappler.com

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