Calvin Abueva gets inside track on Best Player of Conference trophy as rivals fall by wayside
Alaska forward Calvin Abueva has become the frontrunner for the Best Player of the Conference award. Jerome Ascano

CALVIN Abueva played down his chances of capturing the Best Player of the Conference award, keeping his focus firmly on another Alaska deep playoff run in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The Aces star, who came in second to Greg Slaughter in the statistical points (SPs) standings after the elimination round, solidified his chances of winning the top individual plum in a conference after leading his team to a semifinal berth at the expense of Tropang TNT on Friday night.

Abueva is the last man standing among the Top Five in SPs with the teams of Slaughter, Jayson Castro (TNT), Terrence Romeo (GlobalPort), and Sean Anthony (NLEX) already eliminated, making the Aces workhorse’s chances better.

But he refused to think about it for now.

“Saka na yan,” Abueva said with a smile, keeping his sights on the Aces' Final Four matchup against Meralco starting on Monday.

[See Alaska ends TNT title-retention bid as bench steps up]

Abueva proved true to his word of bouncing back in their Game One loss to the Texters with two straight victories.

“Sabi ko sa inyo eh, makakabawi tayo,” he said. “Hindi namin papayagan na hindi kami makapasok ng semis.”

While admitting he was surprised that the Aces blew out the Texters in their do-or-die game, Abeuva was confident that their trademark defense would get the job done.

“Oo, na-surprise naman, pero yung depensa namin talagang nag-click, hindi sila nakatira ng libreng-libre,” Abueva said. “Yung rotation maganda talaga.”

“Siguro naubos na yung energy nila nung Game One tapos kami nilabas namin yung sa amin,” he added. “Talagang ibang level na ‘to, pang-semis kasi.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos