CALVIN Abueva capped his game-long brilliance with a coast-to-coast drive at the buzzer, leading Alaska to a pulsating 100-98 come-from-behind victory over Talk ‘N Text in their PBA Philippine Cup game on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-foot-1 Abueva led Alaska back from as much as 18 points with the first 20-20 game of the season, highlighting his monster performance by turning a Jayson Castro turnover into a floater at the buzzer that clinched the Aces' second win in as many games this season.
The former San Sebastian Stag finished with career-high numbers of 26 points on top of 22 rebounds - undoubtedly his best game since winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2012.
”He (Abueva) played well. I think there’s something that Calvin gives us that I don’t think any other player of the league can give us,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton after the Aces moved into a tie for the lead with idle Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel Beer and Meralco - an 83-75 overtime winner over Blackwater earlier.
“He’s just amazing. The ability to get the ball. And it’s hard for the opponent to score when you have the ball and Calvin helps you get the ball,” he added.
Abueva’s energetic plays helped Alaska dominate the boards, 61-39, as the former NCAA Most Valuable Player simply towered over Talk ‘N Text frontliners.
Talk 'N Text, which fell to 1-2, had a shot at the game-winner but Castro lost the ball on a tap by Alaska guard JV Casio. Dondon Hontiveros got the loose ball and quickly sent the ball to the sprinting Abueva, who confidently went straight to the basket over Larry Fonacier and two other TnT defenders.
Hontiveros added 14 points for the Aces while rookie guard Chris Banchero chipped in 12 in his finest game in an Alaska uniform.
Talk ‘N Text's loss put to naught a big game from Ryan Reyes, who finished with 24 points. Rookie guard Kevin Alas and Kelly Williams chipped in 15 and 13, respectively, for the Tropang Texters.
ALASKA 100 - Abueva 26, Hontiveros 14, Banchero 12, Casio 12, Baguio 10, Manuel 10, Thoss 9, Jazul 6, Exciminiano 1, Eman 0, Dela Rosa 0, Bugia 0, Vanlandingham 0, Dela Cruz 0.
TALK N' TEXT 98 - Reyes R. 24, Alas 15, Williams 13, De Ocampo 12, Castro 10, Ganuelas-Rosser 8, Washington 5, Espiritu 5, Fonacier 4, Reyes R. J. 2, Carey 0, Labagala 0, Seigle 0, Aban 0.
Quarterscores: 21-28, 47-48, 68-80, 100-98