IT’S big Beau Belga’s way of saying ‘Merry Xmas, Calvin Abueva.’
Belga said he and the rest of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters would never ever be intimidated by Alaska’s Calvin Abueva, whose superb plays in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup semifinals has so far carried the Aces to a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“Wala akong pakialam dun (Abueva). Di ko pino-problema si Calvin. There are times na made-depensahan namin siya dahil di naman siya si Superman na kakainin kami ng buo,” Belga said heading into Game Four of the series on Christmas Day at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Pare-pareho kaming humans na may dalawang paa at dalawang kamay,” added the burly big man.
Belga and the Elasto Painters were not in their element on Monday, dropping a 78-94 decision that allowed the Aces to regain the upperhand in the series that had been played a little bit physical so far marred by a lot of shoving and verbal tussles.
Abueva ran roughshod over Rain or Shine in the Game 3 win after banging a career-high 28 points on top of 14 rebounds.
But Belga, a Gilas Pilipinas stalwart, said the key to seizing back control of the series lies on Rain or Shine’s willingness to crash the boards.
“It’s (rebounding) not effort at all, but it’s yung willingness mo i-grab yung rebound at makipag- bakbakan ka sa opponents mo kasi kagustuhan lang iyan,” stressed the former Philippine Christian University standout, who still managed to finish with nine points and four rebounds, before being tossed out in the second half of Game 3 for incurring a second technical foul.
Belga said he isn’t just challenging his fellow frontline players like JR Quinahan or Raymond Almazan to control the boards, but he’s hopeful that even the guards would chip in the rebounding department.
“For me, it’s (the responsibility to rebound) not for JR or Raymond only, but it’s for the whole Rain or Shine team,” he added.
The Aces are averaging 56 rebounds during the first three games of the series, compared to the Elasto Painters’ 46.3 boards.