AFTER Beau Belga, ‘Public Enemy’ No. 2 is up next for Barangay Ginebra and its legion of fans.
The Kings cross paths with Calvin Abueva and the Alaska Aces when the PBA Commissioner’s Cup holds its final elimination-round playdate on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 7 p.m. main game comes in the heels of the Kings’ furious encounter with Belga and Rain or Shine a week ago in which the 6-foot-5 burly center earned the ire of the Kings and their followers for his wild antics during the game which the Elasto Painters won the hard way, 82-79.
Abueva and the Aces are also expected to come out with a sense of urgency against the Kings as a loss could mean outright elimination for the Uytengsu-owned franchise.
“For Alaska fans, not too many more exciting game this conference than a do-or-die with Ginebra,” said coach Alex Compton. “It’s a big one.”
The match will also be played three days since a near endgame skirmish between Abueva and import Ivan Johnson marred the Aces’ 101-93 loss to Talk ‘N Text.
The enigmatic 6-foot-1 Abueva and Johnson, taunting and trash talking each other for most of the second half, almost came to blows while the two teams were heading to the hallway of the Big Dome leading to their respective dugouts.
Witnesses account said Abueva had to be pacified after coming out of Alaska’s dugout holding a coach’s folding chair as he reportedly tried to go after the 6-foot-8 Johnson.
Compton stressed they need Abueva to be at his best – both in plays and behavior – if the Aces were to beat Ginebra.
“I just want him to play the right way and be honorable,” said the soft-spoken Alaska mentor, who also had his own heated verbal tussle with Johnson at endgame.
The Abueva-Johnson incident occurred just after the Alaska star also got in an unpleasant exchange of words against former coach and now Meralco deputy Luigi Trillo for his controversial ‘nganga’ gesture during the Aces’ 108-103 double overtime win over the Bolts.
“Alex (Compton) spoke with Calvin after the Meralco game, because I know he (Alex) will not tolerate any bad behavior if there is any,” said Alaska chief assistant coach Louie Alas.
“We encourage players to play physical but not dirty. No antics or whatsoever.”
Incidentally, the same Abueva antics previously angered Ginebra fans during the time when the two teams met in the 2013 Finals of the Commissioner’s Cup.
“Hope not to happen again,” was Compton’s curt reply when asked if ever Abueva does the same thing all over again.
The Aces are currently tied with Barako Bull and Globalport for the seventh to ninth places with identical records of 4-6, although within striking distance and still in the hunt for a berth in the playoffs are KIA Motors (4-7) and San Miguel (3-7).
The Kings are in solo sixth place with an even 5-5 slate, and while they are already assured of a berth in the next round, the league’s crowd darlings are trying to avoid going down to the seventh or eighth seededing in the playoffs as it means having to win twice against either top seed Rain or Shine or No. 2 Talk ‘N Text.
Four teams will be ousted at the end of the eliminations, with the top two teams having a twice-to-beat advantage over the No. 8 and No 7 teams, respectively.
Teams seeded third to sixth places will square off in a pair of best-of-three quarterfinals series.