A FOUL-PLAGUED Calvin Abueva didn't mind sitting on the bench for most of the second half of Game Two on Friday night.
Not with Noy Baclao stepping up in his absence.
'The Beast' admitted his foul trouble proved to be a blessing in disguise for Alaska, which got a big game from reserve Baclao to pull off a 95-74 win over Star and move on the verge of a place in the PBA Governors Cup Finals.
Abueva battled foul trouble for much of Game Two. He logged just 13 minutes and played just one minute in the second half, kept on the bench by coach Alex Compton after picking up his fifth foul.
But in his absence, Baclao, a former No. 1 pick overall in the rookie draft, rose to the occasion as the former Ateneo standout made all but two of his 10 points in the fourth quarter.
“Ang ganda ng pasok niya (Baclao), ‘yun ang nagpasigla sa amin kaya lumamang kami ng ganoon kalaki,” said Abueva, who still finished the match with 11 points.
The former NCAA MVP out of San Sebastian was quick to add a punchline.
“Nakapag-pahinga ako para sa Game Three,” he said laughing. "Maganda pasok ni Baclao, maganda naman ang upo ko."
Still, Abueva is not yet in a mood to celebrate even if Alaska holds a 2-0 lead, warning that a Star team coached by the league's only two-time grand slam coach is capable of coming back.
“Syempre, hindi kami pwede magsaya ngayon," he said, "hindi kami pwede mag celebrate kasi ‘di pa tapos ‘tong series na ‘to."
Game Three is set on Sunday.