CALVIN Abueva and Dondon Hontiveros injected the energy Alaska sorely needed in yet another win-or-go-home situation, helping the Aces pull off a huge 104-97 upset of top seed Barangay Ginebra to forge a do-or-die match for a semifinals berth in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup.
The 6-foot-1 Abueva played through a sprained right ankle by diving for the loose ball, hustling on defense, while repeatedly scoring over bigger defenders to finish with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds that helped the no. 8 seed team pull off the win and live for another day at the Mall of Asia Arena Wednesday night.
“We have a golden opportunity on Saturday to make something extra special. But now we just have to focus and be prepared,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo, whose team plays Ginebra in a winner-take-all on Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Aces, who took with them a slim four-point lead at the half, made the decisive move midway in the third quarter when they uncorked a 13-4 exchange to jump off to an 80-69 lead.
Alaska managed to sustain the surge, parrying off several Ginebra mini-rallies to win its third straight game in four days.
Trillo gave credit to the “Beast” for coming out with a superlative performance that fired up the embattled Aces.
“It’s just nice to see him (Abueva) play well also. It’s (game) been a tough one for him,” said Trillo.
“I didn’t think he could play because he has sprained his ankle. But he’s motivated. Right now, I don’t want him to be satisfied because it’s just one game,” he added.
“We’re gonna need Calvin to do the same thing again on Saturday.”