Calvin Abueva confident slumping Aces can make playoffs, exact payback on former teammate Jazul
Calvin Abueva was instrumental in leading the Aces back late only to lose at the buzzer. Dante Peralta

CALVIN Abueva rued that it was a former Alaska player that contributed to compounding the Aces misery on Saturday night when RJ Jazul hit a huge triple down the stretch that aided Phoenix’s 95-93 win in their PBA Governors’ Cup matchup.

Trailing, 88-79, with 3:36 left, the Aces mounted on a comeback as they scored 10 unanswered points, capped by a Noy Baclao top-jumper from the top of the key off an Abueva feed to take the lead with 1:11 to go.

JC Intal and Buck Henton traded baskets after that as the Aces maintained 91-90 lead, setting the stage for Jazul’s triple against his former that put the Fuel Masters up, 93-91, with 33 seconds remaining.

“Akala ko mananalo na eh, kung hindi lang tumira yung RJ Jazul, pamatay sunog eh,” Abueva said at the venue hall with a chuckle as as he teased Jazul who was passing by.

[See Phelps deals dagger at the buzzer as Phoenix frustrates Alaska]

Chris Banchero tied the game one last time with a tough putback, but that was negated by Eugene Phelps’ game-winning layup in the next play as the Aces absorbed a second straight loss – and a franchise-worst-sustaining 10th overall dating back to last conference.

Still, Abueva, who finished with eight points, seven boards, five assists, three blocks, and one steal in 26 minutes, refused to get discouraged amid the Aces’ uncharacteristic skid.  

“Hindi naman (napapanghinaan ng loob),” Abueva said. “Makakabawi pa naman kami.”

The Beast was so confident that he pronounced the chances of the Aces of making the playoffs where he’s eager to meet the Fuel Masters again.

“May gagawin kaming ano…pero pag playoffs, makakabawi kami sa Phoenix,” Abueva said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos