CALVIN Abueva provided the energy and hustle Alaska sorely needed to clobber an out-of-sync Rain or Shine side, 94-78 and regain the upperhand in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The ‘Beast’ was all business from start to finish, firing a away with a career-high 28 points, including 17 in the second half, while adding 14 rebounds in a monster effort that enabled the Aces to grab a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Game Four is set on Christmas Day, with Alaska looking for back-to-back wins and a commanding 3-1 series lead.
“I thought our defense was really good. That’s always been sort of the key for us this conference because we just gave up 27 points in the first half,” said winning coach Alex Compton.
The Aces also got an added bonus following the ejection one after the other of Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao and big man Beau Belga in the second half after both incurred two technical fouls for excessive complaining to the referees.
It was the second straight game Guiao missed coaching the entire game for Rain or Shine. He was not around during the first half of Game Two which the Elasto Painters won, 102-95, as he came late for the game after getting stuck in traffic.
In all, Rain or Shine was slapped a total of 37 fouls the entire game, resulting to Alaska’s 44 free throws attempts, with the Aces making 29 of them.
In contrast, the Elasto Painters went 21-of-24 from the foul line or a 20-attempt disparity.
In the absence of Belga, the team’s physical force in the middle, Abueva had a field day controlling the boards against JR Quinahan, who picked up his fourth personal foul as early as the second period.
Raymond Almazan, who scored a season-high 20 points, only had five rebounds as Abueva proved too quick and too strong for the former NCAA Most Valuable Player.
Three other Alaska players scored in double-figures with veteran Eric Menk finishing with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Cyrus Baguio and JV Casio chipped in 11 apiece.
Paul Lee was the only other double-figure scorer for Rain or Shine with 14 points, but shot only 3-of-10 from the field.
Alaska (94) - Abueva 28, Menk 13, Baguio 11, Casio 11, Manuel 6, Banchero 5, Thoss 5, Hontiveros 5, Jazul 5, Dela Cruz 5, Eman 0, Dela Rosa 0, Exciminiano 0.
Rain or Shine (78) - Almazan 20, Lee 14, Belga 9, Norwood 8, Chan 6, Cruz 6, Ibanes 5, Quinahan 4, Uyloan 3, Arana 2, Tang 1.
Quarterscores: 24-12; 42-27; 65-57; 94-78.