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    Coach keeps faith with Abueva after late blunder

    Dec 30, 2012

    CALVIN Abueva didn't hear a single word from Alaska coach Luigi Trillo. Not even a dagger look.

    The young Alaska coach did plan to call his rookie late on Sunday night, but only to offer words of solace and encouragement after the late-game blunder that all but cost the Aces Game Five of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against Talk 'N Text.

    “I have so much faith in him. We wouldn’t be in this series obviously if not for Calvin's help," said Trillo, who personally handpicked Abueva as Alaska's choice with the second pick overall in the last rookie draft.

    With Alaska breathing down the Texters' neck in the endgame, Abueva lost the ball in a turnover that knocked the wind off the sails of the rallying Aces. The Texters went on to win, 99-95, for a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven semifinal series.

    But Trillo said he isn't putting the blame on his hard-banging freshman, insisting that the Aces would not have been in a position to steal the win in the endgame had it not been for Abueva's heroics.

    "Actually I’m gonna call him up (later tonight) and make him feel good," said the Aces' sophomore coach. "Hindi rin naman kami hahabol sa game (kanina) kung hindi dahil kay Calvin."

    “Sa akin, buo yung loob ko sa kanya (Abueva). He shouldn’t feel bad, that (turnover) should make him a better player. You have to understand, Calvin is a warrior. This experience will help him a lot in his career."

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    Asked if he will ask Abueva to stand his ground on defense and lessen the falls that had him being accused of 'flopping' by rivals, Trillo said: “I told him to be stronger. He has to get spots and take charges. I told him to just pick himself up immediately after a fall.

    “I saw that in him in the second half. I hope his toughness on defense will continue,” added Trillo.

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