Beermen aim to tame ‘The Beast’ Abueva in Finals
MANILA, Philippines—While Alaska figures out a way to crack “The Kraken” June Mar Fajardo, San Miguel Beer hopes to map out a plan to cage “The Beast” Calvin Abueva.
Beermen head coach Leo Austria believes the do-it-all Abueva was the difference-maker in the Aces’ semifinals series against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and slowing him down will be a must in their best-of-seven championship duel for the 2015 PBA Philippine Cup crown.
“Calvin Abueva is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Alaska,” said Austria. “We all know that he’s ‘The Beast’ and he won’t be referred as ‘The Beast’ if he has nothing to show. It was very obvious that he was the x-factor in the semifinals against Rain or Shine.”
Fajardo, San Miguel’s reigning MVP, also knows how much Abueva, who averaged 16.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in the semis against a rugged Rain or Shine side, affects Alaska play.
“Calvin always gives his 210% when he plays,” said Fajardo, who was beaten by Abueva in the 2012 Rookie of the Year race, in Filipino. “I hope we’ll be able to contain him and minimize his energy production. Alaska plays better when he plays well because of the energy that he brings.”
Aside from Abueva, Austria also has his sights set on stopping Aces guard JVee Casio.
“But I think it’s not only Abueva that we have to prepare for because I think Casio also gives Alaska the intangibles and this team won’t perform well without him,” Austria pointed out. “For me, he’s one of the best point guards in the land.”
“I respect coach Leo very much. For me, there are many great guards in the country and in international play in Asia we saw that the country has produced the best guards in basketball,” Casio said in response to Austria’s praise.
In the Aces and Beermen’s meeting in the single-round eliminations early in the season, Casio and Abueva shone in their team’s 66-63 squeaker.
Casio had 11 points and five rebounds while Abueva, an undersized power forward at 6-foot-2, was all over the place and grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds against San Miguel’s tall frontline of Fajardo and Santos.
“My job is to bring energy to my team to help them win,” said the 26-year-old Abueva in Filipino.