Calvin Abueva's focus, businesslike approach earn praise from Alaska coach
Alaska holds its Monday afternoon practice at the Gatorade Hoops Center. Karlo Sacamos

CALVIN Abueva was unusually expressionless when caught up with him after Alaska's practice on Monday afternoon on the eve of Game Two of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals against San Miguel Beer.

The Aces star, who usually wears his heart on his sleeve, has been hardly showing emotion since the series opener on Friday when he would just be nonchalant after a made basket or a big defensive stop.

The focus is there for 'The Beast' in this biggest stage.

“Syempre iba na ‘to, finals na ‘to,” Abueva said in a short chat. “Kailangan din mag-step up tsaka yung depensa kailangan nandun.”

“So tanggal muna 'yung emotion kasi importante yung mental talaga at yung focus sa game, sa bawat possession,” he added. “Kaya ganun ka higpit yung mental namin ngayon.”

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The 27-year-old Abueva, who easily complains and gets called for technical fouls for his antics, hardly flinched when he was at the receiving end of second motion.

That made Compton proud of his prized ward, who finished with 12 points, 13 boards, and two assists in 28 minutes as the Aces took a 1-0 lead with a 100-91 victory.

“There was somebody who head-butted him in the game and there was no call, but he didn’t react and he just kept playing,”  the American mentor bared, although refusing to mention the SMB player.

“I think that’s pretty admirable,” he added. “If you do that to most people, they’re going to react. I think he controlled himself very well. And it showed in the energy and focus he maintained the whole game.”

The Aces’ focus as a unit starts in practice, which they have held behind closed doors since Compton became head coach.

“For us, it’s always about focus,” Compton said. “It’s about focus from training camp through now. If we want to be the same team the whole time, then we don’t change and we hopefully don’t fluctuate.”

The Aces try to bring the same mentality to Game Two on Tuesday where they seek a 2-0 lead.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos