CALVIN Abueva said there’s no room for another slow start for Alaska considering the short elimination round format of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup where the Aces are the defending champion.
The Aces began their title retention bid on the wrong foot after getting beaten by Talk `N Texton Wednesday night, 72-85, despite getting a double-double effort from Abueva.
“Kulang pa kami sa bilis kaya kailang naming mag-double effort sa practice,” said the flamboyant forward, who finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds in what he considered as his `lucky day.’
“Saka ito 'yung crown namin, kailangan naming protektahan ito, kailangan naming bumawi.”
The Aces got off to a slow start during the season-opening Philippine Cup and suffered the consequences after finishing as the no. 8 team going to the playoffs, where they eventually lost to top seed Barangay Ginebra in a do-or-die game for a berth in the semifinals.
Alaska’s schedule will be hectic in the next few days as the team plays four more games in a 12-day span, with the Aces returning to the court on Saturday against GlobalPort at the Astrodome.
Abueva made effort to come out strong in Alaska’s opening day game, although it was not enough to save the Aces as Talk 'N Text hit them with nine three-pointers while import Richard Howell beat them off the boards by grabbing a total of 30 rebounds.
“Lucky day ko siguro pero di pinalad manalo. Kailangang bumawi sa next game,” said Abueva, who tried to contain his emotion for most of the game but was still slapped with a technical foul in the third period for his trademark rugged defense.
Last season’s Rookie of the Year was also amazed to see Howell come out with a strong performance, considering he has played against the Talk ‘N Text import in a pocket tournament in Cebu more than a week ago which the Aces ruled.
“Sa Cebu, parang slow siya (Howell), pero ngayon, grabe 30 rebounds siya saka 10 offensive rebounds. Malaking bagay din iyun sa Talk ‘N Text,” said the player they call 'The Beast.'