CALVIN Abueva felt there’s something different in Alaska this season that makes him confident about the Aces contending for the PBA Philippine Cup title.
“Malaking pagkakaiba, lahat nagbibigayan kaya maganda ang kumpiyansa namin,” Abueva told Spin.ph before the team’s practice at the Gatorade Hoops Center.
The enthusiasm was palpable the moment the Aces began training camp early in September with the help of Australian coach Rob Beveridge, according to the 26-year-old athletic forward.
At the same time, ‘The Beast’ felt coach Alex Compton has already found a way to maximize the talent at his disposal by evenly spreading the playing minutes to ensure the Aces all stay fresh in games.
“Hindi na kagaya dati na two or three players lang aabot 32 minutes or mas marami pa. Ngayon, ang ganda ng rotation namin, saka one team kami, may goal kami na dapat naming kunin,” added Abueva.
The Aces begin their season by taking on no less than reigning All-Filipino champion Purefoods on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-1 forward out of San Sebastian saw his numbers dip last year following an outstanding freshman stint that saw him bag the Rookie of the Year award.
Abueva averaged just 9.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists in his second year in the league, stats that paled in comparison to his 12.2-point, 9.3-rebound, 1.8-assist averages when he helped the Aces win the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup.
But he’s thankful for the 100 percent support of his teammates and coach Compton.
“Yung sa akin, maganda pinapakita ko, tinutulungan ako ng mga teammateas ko saka coaching staff, kasi malaki ang tiwala nila eh,” he added.
Alaska’s already veteran-laden roster was strengthened during the offseason with the addition of rookies Chris Banchero and Rome dela Rosa from the draft.
The 6-0 Banchero, selected fifth overall, is a member of the San Miguel Beermen that bagged the 2013 Asean Basketball League championship.