by Waylon Galvez
Manila, Philippines – Alaska head coach Luigi Trillo blamed sophomore forward Calvin Abueva for his team’s loss during the knockout game against Ginebra last Saturday, saying the player’s antics, such as making a gesture to show that he had the Kings for dinner, fired up their opponents.
“I think he needs to stop that, I already told him that,” said Trillo referring to Abueva’s repeated showboating which has irked both their opponents and many fans who find Abueva’s gestures repulsive.
Thus, when the Kings beat the Aces in the do-or-die match, 108-95, Ginebra star Mark Caguioa returned the gesture, standing on the bench and pretending to eat with his hands. The same motion was done by Ginebra team consultant Alfrancis Chua several times.
Abueva had been getting in the skin not only of Ginebra but of other teams as well with his antics such as extending his tongue after making a play, a motion made famous by Michael Jordan, except that his skills cannot be described as Jordan-like.
But to the credit of Abueva, he can really deliver for Alaska.
Coming in as an eighth seed, Alaska forced a knockout match by beating the twice-to-beat Ginebra , 104-97, with Abueva scoring 16 points, hauling 11 rebounds, dishing four assists and getting three steals while playing with a sprained left ankle.
It was in this game, however, that Abueva got the Kings practically mad.
In the fourth quarter, he acted as if he was eating while walking towards the Alaska bench then put his right hand in his mouth, which meant he had the entire Ginebra for dinner.
In the knockout game, the Kings got the last laugh and mimicked Abueva, who fouled out with 13 points and eight rebounds while playing for 20 minutes.
Trillo felt Abueva fired up their opponent.
“He doesn’t need to do that. That only adds fuel to the fire,” said Trillo. “We will try to mentor him again, tell him to stop the hanky-panky. Kasi yun din ang pumatay sa amin eh, kung hindi nya ginawa nung Game 1 yun, hindi rin siguro ganun yung Ginebra.”
There’s no move to trade Abueva despite rumors that it may soon happen. Trillo said there’s no reason for them to tweak their roster.
Alaska owner Fred Uytengsu already said that they are not trading Abueva, the league’s Rookie of the Year last season and who was selected by the Aces as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 PBA Rookie Draft (behind Petron Blaze’s 6-foot-10 center June Mar Fajardo).
“I’m not really looking for anything. I know that there are people frustrated with Calvin. I just have to take a step back and look at our line up, I’m sure all teams will,” said Trillo whose team is the defending champion in the Commissioner’s Cup.