PBA: Calvin Abueva nails game-winning putback as Phoenix escapes Meralco
Phoenix head coach Louie Alas wasn’t sure if his players could still survive another extra five minutes.
Calvin Abueva made sure there wasn’t any need for a second overtime.
Abueva followed up Justin Chua’s miss with 4.1 seconds left to lift Phoenix over Meralco, 93-92, after a grueling back-and-forth affair in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I have to give credit to my players because I know they would’ve cramped up if the game went into another overtime,” Alas told reporters.
The game wouldn’t have gone into overtime in the first place had the Fuel Masters took good care of their 18-point lead.
But the Bolts had other plans in mind as they battled back and even went so close to stealing the game after Chris Newsome sank a 3-pointer with only 11 seconds remaining.
Justin Chua posted a career-high 24 points while Matthew Wright added 18 for Phoenix, which got booted out by Meralco in the 2018 Governors’ Cup quarterfinals. Abueva finished with eight points, 16 rebounds and six assists to compensate for his horrible 2-of-13 shooting clip.
“I just tried to be aggressive and kept doing what I do which was to get offensive rebounds,” Abueva said in Filipino.
Nico Salva also had a career performance with 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field while Newsome had 20 points.