MORE than Calvin Abueva’s monster game, Talk 'N Text's failure to crash the boards led to its downfall against Alaska in their tightly-fought encounter on Wednesday night in the PBA Philippine Cup, said coach Jong Uichico.
Uichico rued the 61-39 rebounding edge the Aces had built around the 6-1 1/2 Abueva's 22 off the glass aside from churning out 26 points including the game-winning floater at the buzzer, 100-98.
“We got beaten off the boards, that’s all there is to it,” said Uichico when Spin.ph chanced upon him while he was on the way to the parking lot of the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Of course, he’s not taking anything away from Abueva, who punished the Tropang Texters all night long with his intense play and on-court hustle that inspired the Aces to fight back from as much as an 18-point deficit.
“That’s 26 and 22,” quipped Uichico of the Alaska forward’s remarkable numbers.
Despite the big game from Abueva, Talk `N Text actually had a chance to win it all with the score tied at 98-all and the Tropang Texters with ball possession.
But Jayson Castro lost control of the leather following a tap by Jayvee Casio as the Gilas Pilipinas guard tried to drive hard to the basket, the turnover leading to Abueva’s game-ending heroics.
Still, Uichico believed the game would have not boiled down to the final shot had the Tropang Texters cleared the boards more efficiently.
While the Aces held a slight edge in defensive rebounding, 35-33, they actually walloped the Tropang Texters on the offensive boards, 26-6.
Aside from Abueva, Vic Manuel also hit double figures in rebounding with 12, while resident big man Sonny Thoss had seven.
Talk `N Text on the other hand only had Jay Washington as its best rebounder with seven. Conspicuously, the 6-foot-7 Washington was on the bench entering the stretch run of a game of wildly changing fortune.
The loss dropped the Tropang Texters at 1-2, although Uichico remains positive about their campaign in the season-opening meet especially with veteran guard Jimmy Alapag set to rejoin the team.
“He’s already practicing with us,” said Uichico without going into details.
Alapag went on a three-week vacation after spending the entire off season playing for the national team in the Fiba World Cup and Asian Games.