COLLEGE rivals turn into pro teammates as Calvin Abueva and Jake Pascual team up at Alaska, shoring up the team’s depleted frontline starting in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup.
After engaging each other in fierce battles for four years when San Sebastian and San Beda faced off in the NCAA, Abeuva welcomed Pascual, who the Aces acquired in a trade with Star for Rome dela Rosa last week.
“Ngayon, kampi ko na. Mas magulo,” Abueva said with a chuckle after practice on Tuesday on the eve of Pascual’s debut with the Aces in a game against Meralco at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
But 'The Beast' has let bygones be bygones as far as his past altercations with Pascual are concerned.
“Nung araw yun. Eh ngayon, iba na, pro na tayo, ‘di ba?” Abueva said. “Kaya syempre dito lang naman umiikot yung mundo natin sa basketball.”
“Kahit na may nagawa ako o may nagawa siya, syempre past is past na,” he added of Pascual after their college teams met countless times, including twice in the NCAA Finals.
Abueva can heave a sigh of relief with the addition of the 6-foot-3 3/4 Pascual to a team that’s still missing injured big men Sonny Thoss and Noy Baclao.
“Undersized pa kami, wala kaming big man,” the 6-foot-1 1/2 Abueva said. “Tapos si Jake, bago pa lang, hindi pa masyado nakaka-ano ng play namin, pero expected namin na makakasabay siya sa amin.”
Coming off their first win of the season, a 95-84 decision of GlobalPort last Wednesday, snapping a two-game skid, the Aces are eager to get a win streak this time as they face the Bolts at 7 p.m.
“Kailangan manalo,” Abueva said. “Itong three games namin, crucial lahat ‘to eh dahil malalakas pa yung kalaban, hindi ka pwedeng mag-relax.”