Calvin Abueva set for return while JVee Casio still doubtful in Alaska's must-win game against Star
Calvin Abueva vows to return in Alaska's game against Star, while JVee Casio is not as sure to play as his teammate. Jerome Ascano

ANTIPOLO City – Calvin Abueva is set to rejoin Alaska in practice and vows to play against Star on Wednesday in what would be a must-win game for the team in a bid to bolster its playoffs chances in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The forward who serves as the Aces’ resident energizer sat out the team’s 109-97 loss against San Miguel Saturday night at the Ynares Sports Center here owing to an ankle sprain he suffered in Alaska’s game against NLEX.

But now with only minor swelling on the injured ankle, and the Aces badly needing to win their final elimination round assignment against the league-leading Hotshots, Abueva said there’s no way he’ll miss playing the crucial outing set at the Cuneta Astrodome.

“Oo (lalaro na ako) during Star last game (namin),” said Abueva, who showed up for the game against the Beermen but not in uniform.

[See SMB vents ire on slumping Alaska]

According to him, he’s set to return to practice on Sunday,

“Bukas (Sunday) pa lang, viewing ng kaunti, tapos ensayo ng Monday and Tuesday,” said the Gilas stalwart.

The setback was the sixth straight for Alaska for a 4-6 record in a tie with GlobalPort for the seventh and eight spots heading into the final week of the eliminations.

Abueva still likes the chances of the team advancing to the next round, especially if the Aces could take care of business against the Hotshots, and the other teams in the lower bracket of the standings losing their respective final assignments.

Just above Alaska at no. 6 with an even 5-5 record is Rain or Shine, while just below the Aces hovering at no. 9 and 10 are Phoenix (4-7) and Mahindra (3-7), respectively.

The Elasto Painters still have to go up against TnT Katropa also on Wednesday, while the Batang Pier clash with the Beermen on Friday in the curtain raiser of a doubleheader that will see the Floodbuster taking on the Barangay Ginebra Kings.

If all else goes according to plan, Abueva believes Alaska still has a good shot of making it as high as no. 6 in the playoffs.

 “May chance pa naman kami,”he said. “Kapag nanalo kami sa Star, hinihintay lang naming matalo ang Rain or Shine sa TnT para pupunta kami sa Top 6,” he said.

While prospect of an Abueva comeback is very possible, the same can’t be said for guard JVee Casio, who also sat out the game against the Beermen due to a hamstring injury.


“I doubt that he will be available,” admitted coach Alex Compton of his premier point guard. “He had a hamstring injury which usually takes at least a few weeks to recover from.” 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos