ANTIPOLO CITY - Despite the constant distraction he brings in, Calvin Abueva remains one of the biggest game changers in the PBA today.
Topex Robinson wouldn't deny the value of Abueva to Phoenix - something which the team badly missed especially after being dealt by Rain or Shine a third straight loss in the Commissioner's Cup, 89-82, on Sunday night at the Ynares Center.
"That's 18 points per game and about eight rebounds," said Robinson of Abueva, who was meted an indefinite suspension by the league last week following his vicious clothesline on TnT Katropa import Terrence Jones.
"But again, we offer no excuses. We were good with what we have, and we always have to make sure that we let go of that because wala na rin kaming magagawa doon."
The Fuel Masters did prove they can compete even without their eccentric teammate, pushing the Elasto Painters to the limit until falling short in the endgame.
The effort was more than enough consolation for Robinson, who called the shots for the team in its last two games folllowing the suspension of coach Louie Alas.
"It was a good game. It could have been better if we won," he added. "At least we gave a fight and hopefully, we're gonna learn from this experience."
Robinson himself committed a blunder after being whistled for a technical foul when he entered the court prematurely after the ball had already been inbounded by the Fuel Masters following Rey Nambatac's dagger trey.
The Phoenix assistant thought the table officials heard him call a timeout the moment Nambatac hit the trey. The Rain or Shine guard hit the accompanying technical free throw that made it 86-80 with less than two minutes remaining.
"We make mistakes, referees made a mistake, I made a mistake, so we have to move forward," he said.