An inadvertent elbow to the face by San Miguel Beer forward Arwind Santos knocked Alaska’s Calvin Abueva to the ground during a rebound battle in Game 4 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals series.
Abueva checked his jaw – no broken bone. He checked his nose – no blood.
Known in the league as “The Beast”, Abueva got up, clapped his hands as he walked towards Santos, who was handed a technical foul by the referees for second motion, but said nothing to his SMB rival.
If this was a boxing bout, round 4 went to Santos but Abueva took two other rounds when he bloodied Santos in the head with elbows twice.
Alaska lost the game 4, 88-70, Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum that allowed San Miguel Beer to again tie the best-of-seven all-Filipino conference title series whichis now at 2-2.
More than the hit in the face, what actually dazed Abueva was the way the Aces performed.
Alaska once again started slow and fell by as many as 29 points early in the third quarter.
“Hindi ko masabi kung ano yung problema,” said Abueva, the only double-digit scorer for Alaska in Game 4 with 22 points, but was held to seven rebounds after averaging nearly 12 in the first three games of the finals.
“Nilalaro naman namin yung laro namin, nauunahan lang kami siguro kaya nagkakaganun,” said Abueva, who had several run-ins with his fellow Kapampangan Santos in the title showdown.
Alaska’s two wins in this series were come-from-behind victories – down 22 after the first quarter but still won in OT in Game 1, 88-82, and then charged back from a 21-point deficit early in the third frame to score a 78-70 triumph in Game 3 for a 2-1 advantage in the series.
But no rallies this time as SMB held on to win.