DESPITE still feeling some pain, Calvin Abueva admitted he was eager to make an immediate impact in his PBA Season 42 debut for Alaska on Wednesday night.
Sidelined the first two games by a quadriceps tear, the Aces star played like he was never injured, tallying a team-high 22 points, 11 boards, two steals, and one assist in just 26 minutes as Alaska dealt GlobalPort its first loss, 95-84, in the Philippine Cup.
Those are glowing numbers considering he's not yet fully healthy.
"Syempre may mga symptoms pa rin na sumasakit, pero kailangan mo na talaga lumaro eh," Abueva said after the Aces registered their first win after two losses. "Kailangan na para maka-contribute na sa opensa at depensa namin."
“Maganda yung pinakita tsaka kailangan talaga naming manalo eh,” he added. "Mabuti na lang 'yung effort ko, tsaka effort ng mga teammates ko, nasama namin nung fourth quarter.”
'The Beast’s' energy was certainly contagious as, after scoring 10 straight for Alaska in a stretch where they cut a nine-point deficit to just one, JVee Casio took over, scoring seven of his team’s next eight points to take the lead for good and gain enough cushion to preserve the result.
“It looked like they were running us off the court and then we came alive and the guys, they’re just a resilient bunch, and that’s what I like the most going into the meat of the eliminations and the playoffs: our resilience,” Aces coach Alex Compton said.
“Obviously, Calvin Abueva’s one of the best players in the country, so having his energy matters,” he added.
Abueva was on target from beyond the arc as well, knocking down three of his four trey, including two in that one-man run that sparked the comeback.
“Actually, ‘di ko alam kung anong papasok talaga pero parang may konting buenas talaga, maski yung sa corner ko buenas talaga kaya ganun tumaas yung kumpiyansa ko,” Abeuva said.
And with their first win, Abueva is hoping the Aces can build momentum.
“Sa next game natin, mas ibibigay natin 'yung todo natin,” Abueva said. “Mas lalaki yung effort natin kasi kakabalik lang namin.”