(Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 p.m. – Blackwater vs Magnolia
7 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Meralco
5 p.m. – Ginebra vs NLEX
By the time this comes out, Alaska governor and PBA vice chairman Dickie Bachmann would have known if forward Calvin Abueva suited up and played for the game against Phoenix Fuel last night or not.
So would the Aces fans.
As of this writing though, everything was still up in the air.
Abueva rejoined the Aces’ practice session Tuesday, but there was no definite word on him playing against the Fuel Masters in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
Bachmann confirmed the veteran forward was present at the Hoops Gym and had unleashed his usual Beast-like energy, grinding it out with teammates during the scrimmage.
“He came back in practice and played hard,” said Bachmann in a text message to the Bulletin.
Asked if the 6-foot-2 forward will play against the Fuel Masters, Bachmann said there was no certainty although he expressed the team’s all-out support for their prized if embattled player.
In the Aces’ 88-84 victory over the Blackwater Elite, Abueva missed the encounter and Alaska coach Alex Compton didn’t provide the media any details on the absence of the former San Sebastian stalwart.
Compton did mention that Abueva is dealing with a personal matter, and that the franchise, as practiced when it comes to personal or family issues within the ballclub, supports Abueva every step of the way.
“It has always been family first with Alaska,” said Bachmann, a former Aces player. “We don’t want to put added pressure by expecting him to play (against Phoenix Fuel).”
Aside from Alaska, Abueva also missed practice sessions with Gilas Pilipinas – where he was initially part of the national training pool preparing for the second window of the FIBA Asia qualifier this month against Australia and Japan for next year’s World Cup in China.
His absence forced Gilas coach Chot Reyes, however, to pull him out of the roster.
During last Monday’s Gilas practice session at the Meralco gym, Abueva showed up and rejoined the training but his status as a reserve remained unaltered.
Through five games in the season-opening conference, Abueva – a seven-year veteran – is averaging a double-double 14.8 points and a team high 10.2 rebounds with 3.2 assists.
Alaska has won its last four games and will be aiming to improve its record to 5-2 against the Fuel Masters.