Calvin Abueva rose to the occasion for Phoenix Pulse on Friday evening. His block on Bong Galanza’s potential game-winning three-pointer from the wing saved the Fuel Masters from the clutches of the gutsy NLEX Road Warriors, 83-82.
“Nag-help lang ako kasi naiwanan ng teammate.
“Tsaka naka-delay kami – ang alam namin kay Larry offense, eh na free si Galanza. So nag-force na ‘ko and nag-help kesa maka-shoot pa,” recalled Abueva, who had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Abueva’s heroics helped the Fuel Masters book their fifth straight win. They have solidified their hold of the top spot of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup team standings with a clean 5-0 record – their best start ever in franchise history.
The last time a team started the Philippine Cup with five consecutive wins was the San Miguel Beermen, who went on to cop the conference crown – their fourth straight – at the expense of the Magnolia Hotshots in five games.
But before setting their sights on anything so grand, the eight-year pro remains focused on what’s present.
The Fuel Masters’ upcoming schedule this February will feature tough teams. They will face the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (4-1) this Sunday, before battling the 2018 Governors’ Cup finalists Alaska Aces on the 27th.
Phoenix will then face all three SMC teams – Magnolia Hotshots, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, and the men-on-a-mission Beermen – on March.
“Sa’min it’s not about 5-0.
“‘Di namin fino-force na nasa top na kami, pero mga nakakalaban namin parang mga kasing-level lang namin sa laro. ‘Di pa yun totally SMB or something na Ginebra, Magnolia,” said Abueva, who is looking to win his first championship in six years.
Still, the seven-year vet is satisfied to have earned this many wins, which will be beneficial come the playoff race.
“[Mabuti na yung] nanalo kami sa mga naunang games namin, kasi pagdating dun [sa mga susunod naming mga laro] baka kung ano pa mangyari. So pinu-pwesto lang namin sarili namin sa dapat mangyari.”