Abueva got the better of fellow San Sebastian product and No. 1 draft pick overall CJ Perez in their first meeting in the PBA on Wednesday night as unbeaten Phoenix pulled off a 108-98 win over Columbian in the Philippine Cup.
'The Beast' finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and three steals as the Fuel Masters won their third straight game for the best start to a conference in franchise history.
Perez, who drew comparisons with Abueva early in his varsity career at San Sebastian scored 10 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and had six assists and two blocks but shot just 3-of-11 from the field.
Abueva, however, played down the face-off, saying he was more focused on winning the game for the Fuel Masters.
Ang sa akin naman, about (winning) the game na hindi lang (match-ups) ang pinag-uusapan,” said the Phoenix bruiser.
Although he was impressed with Perez's 26-point output in his league debut, Abueva said the former Lyceum star still has a lot to improve on.
“Sa akin naman, okay naman ‘yung pinakita niya. Last game 26 points. Ngayon, 10 points. Parang sa akin, kung pagbabasehan, malayo ang agwat eh. May agwat pero sa akin, parang beterano na siyempre," Abueva said.
The two didn't get to guard each other much, except for a stretch in the second quarter when Abueva scored after barreling past Perez to give Phoenix Pulse a 48-38 lead. Perez forced Abueva to commit his fifth foul in the fourth quarter, but ended up missing both free throws.
Abueva said he considers Perez as a brother, and hopes the rookie continues to strive to improve.
“Wala namang personalan. Sabi ko lang iimprove mo sarili mo sa laro. Hindi naman ako magsa-suggest na gawin mo ‘to, eto gawin mo. Hindi kami magka-teammate eh. Magkalaban kami sa court pero ang akin lang, sa labas, kapatid ang turing ko sa kanya,” said Abueva.
“Actually, nung college, nakikita ko pero wag siya masyado guarantee sa laro niya ngayon. Dapat i-push niya sarili niya para mag-high level pa ‘yung galawan niya."