There’s no denying how Calvin Abueva helped the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters make the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals a tough one for defending four-time All-Filipino kings San Miguel Beermen.
With his physical play – especially against 6-foot-10 slotman June Mar Fajardo – plus his antics, the enigmatic forward touted as the Beast did his best to disrupt the flow of the mighty Beermen.
After everything, though, Fajardo made it clear that he holds no grudges against Abueva.
“Okay kami. Wala kaming problema ni Calvin. Mataas ‘yung respeto ko sa kanya,” said the first overall pick in the 2012 Rookie Draft about the second overall pick of the same draft.
“Magkasabay kami sa draft. Ilang years na kaming magkalaban so alam ko yung laro niya.”
The five-time MVP and the Beermen still got the last laugh as they reigned victorious, 105-94, to finish the series in five games to book their franchise-record fifth straight Philippine Cup Finals appearance.
Fajardo put up 17 points and 16 rebounds in the closeout win. Meanwhile, Abueva had a disappearing act, as he only had one point on 0-of-7 shooting, though he hauled down ten boards.
Abueva was even ejected with 42 seconds left to play after a flagrant foul penalty one-hit on Fajardo, when the game was all but settled. Still, Fajardo has no complains.
“Paglabas naman ng court, sobrang close kami. Ilang years kaming magkasama sa Gilas, alam ko ‘yung attitude niya,” said Fajardo.
“So sobrang taas ng respeto ko sa kanya.”
Now, Fajardo is simply relieved that the highly-physical series is done.
“Isa ‘to sa mga series na nasubukan ‘yung pasensiya ko,” he said.
“Pero okay lang ‘yun part ‘yun ng game… Good thing na end ‘yung series and kami ang pumasok sa Finals.”