No Calvin, no problem
Superstar power forward Calvin Abueva left in a huff after Alaska had started its game against Blackwater, needing to take care of an emergency family matter.
His Aces family, though, took care of the Elite in a Petron Saturday Special Game on Saturday night, 88-84, as Alaska notched a fourth straight win and sustained its pursuit of the leaders in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
“That’s not a question for me,” coach Alex Compton said of Abueva, who asked to leave after warming up. “For us, it’s family first and [PBA] franchise second. We obviously missed Calvin, but the other guys stepped up.”
The Aces led practically from the start and sealed their 4-2 slate after the Elite helped doom themselves in the fourth period by missing seven free throws going into the final minute.
Magnolia also streaked to a fourth straight win later in the night after holding off TNT KaTropa, 91-83, for 5-2 and solo second place.
The Texters dropped to a level 3-3 card after their first loss in the last three games.
Blackwater, after touching off crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra’s three-game losing streak with one of the upsets of the conference two weeks ago, is now also in the same tailspin and dropped to 2-4 overall.
“As great as Calvin is, I don’t think we have ever relied on one guy,” Compton said. “That’s why we are a team. Did we miss him? Yeah. But the other guys stepped up.”
Kevin Racal, probably the best defender in the Alaska roster after Abueva, was one of four players in twin digits for the Aces, hitting 12 of his total inside the first three periods.
Rookie Jeron Teng hit the biggest triple of the night coming in the final 64-second mark that made it 86-80.
Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer versus Barangay Ginebra gets going Sunday, with the three-time defending champion Beermen seeking to extend a five-game winning streak and add to the Gin Kings’ woes in the 6:45 p.m. game.
Meralco shoots for its first winning streak in the conference at 4:30 p.m. against GlobalPort, which tries to rebound from its first loss in the last three games.
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