SERIOUSLY, the move to have Mahindra playing-coach Manny Pacquiao go up against Alaska star Calvin Abueva was part of the team’s game plan during the PBA Governors Cup game on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Coach Chris Gavina admitted the Enforcer were hoping to put Abueva a little out of sync by surprisingly letting Pacquiao guard him late in the first period of the match which Mahindra won, 101-95.
“It’s kind of a ‘war’ out of thing. ‘The Beast’ vs. ‘The Champion. It’s just a great match-up for everybody to see,’” said Gavina later when asked about it.
“Our game plan was to put him in there when Calvin came in. That was our game plan.”
The ploy obviously didn’t work. Abueva just proved too much for Pacquiao to contain, dominating the 37-year-old boxing great by scoring eight of his 21 points in the first period, including two three-pointers, to steer the Aces to a 31-23 lead after the first 12 minutes.
Gavina is aware about its consequences, but explained that people should understand Pacquiao is just playing his first game back with the team after skipping the entire Commissioner’s Cup to focus on his third fight with Tim Bradley and his campaign for a seat in the Senate.
“We got to him. We adopted when he came,” said the rookie coach of the Senator, who was reactivated as part of Mahindra’s regular roster after starting point guard LA Revilla suffered a broken nose in practice.
“That’s what it comes down at the end of the day,” added Gavina, whose team won for the fourth straight time to keep the top spot in a tie with TNT Katropa.