BARANGAY Ginebra is supposed to be the epitome of a never-say-die spirit in this PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
But it’s Alaska rookie Calvin Abueva who’s the one living up to the true meaning of the words.
'The Beast’ again showed boundless energy in another runaway win by the Aces over the embattled Kings, 104-90, that gave the franchise a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series and moved them a victory away from a first league title in the last three years.
Abueva, the sensational No. 2 pick in the last rookie draft, finished with 15 points and again provided the hustle and spunk sorely lacking in Ginebra’s play.
That the most hated player today in an Alaska uniform exemplifies the very spirit Ginebra has been known for is quite understandable.
Abueva is a self-confessed Ginebra fan, who patterned his brand of play after his longtime idol, local basketball’s Living Legend Robert Jaworski.
The native of Balibago, Angeles said he grew up watching and idolizing the predecessors of this modern-day Kings, so much so that he grew up trying to emulate their never-say-die brand of play.
"Oo, siguro ganoon nga," Abueva told Spin.ph. "Kaya ganito ako maglaro kasi sila (Ginebra) ang mga idol ko habang lumalaki ako."
He admired Jaworski’s brand of play so much that he also wore the Big J’s iconic No. 7 jersey while playing for San Sebastian in college.
"Siguro kaya din nila nasasabi `yun (na bagay daw ako maglaro sa Ginebra) kasi ganon nga, sila kinalakihan kong panoorin," he said.
But as fate would have it, Abueva ended up playing for Alaska in the pro league and has a chance of winning his first PBA championship as a rookie at Ginebra’s expense.
As a pro, he vows to give his best in the hope of giving Alaska its first championship since 2010.
"Syempre ngayon iba na," he said. "Andito na ako, ito na `yung bahay ko, pamilya ko, kaya gagawin ko ang best para manalo, para mabigyan ang Alaska ng championship."
Abueva is also not about to complain about the physical plays he’s been receiving in this best-of-five series, knowing fully well what is at stake here.
"Siguro ganoon lang talaga. Pero ako naman kasi ginagawa ko lang naman `yung best ko para manalo dito sa game," he said.
Aware of Ginebra’s huge fan base that has jeered him at every turn, Abueva said all he could do in return is just to play with a lot of intensity like the Ginebra team he grew up idolizing.
“Syempre andito na ako," he said. "Kaya bibigyan ko ng buhay ang Alaska."