Texters stake clean slate vs Aces, AbuevaBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — Just how real is Calvin Abueva?
The sensational Alaska rookie and the Aces’ newfound brilliance will be put to a test Friday when they slug it out with surging defending champion Talk ‘N Text in the PBA Philippine Cup elimination round at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Just three games into his young pro career, the 6-foot-1 former San Sebastian ace has become the tournament’s leading rebounder, with his boundless effort and energy leading the Aces to four straight victories thus far and back in the company of the pacesetters.
And at 7:30 p.m., Talk ‘N Text, a squad known to shut down great players when needed, gets its first taste of handling “The Beast” and the surging Aces with the Tropang Texters’ undefeated card on the line.
“Alaska is playing very well with the addition of (Calvin) Abueva,” Norman Black said after the Texters’ sixth straight victory, notched against an equally formidable Rain or Shine side in Victorias City last Saturday. “He’s a big boost to them.”
Abueva became the first rookie to win Player of the Week honors from the PBA Press Corps this season after averaging 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in the Aces’ last two victories.
Coach Luigi Trillo has labelled Abueva the game changer after his prized rookie had averaged 14 points and 14 rebounds in his first two games.
Talk ‘N Text is big and athletic and has won its first six games mainly because of defense. Black was the first to admit that his Texters are not yet as smooth offensively as he wants them to be.
“We are aware that we are at 6-0 but that’s not our main concern,” Black said after the victory over the Elasto Painters. “We have a long way to go and we have many things left to build on our plays.”
Meanwhile, Petron Blaze seeks a second straight win under Olsen Racela and a third consecutive victory when it battles lowly Air21 in the 5:15 p.m. contest.