The best-of-seven titular showdown between Alaska and Rain or Shine for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup crown offers several intriguing sub-plots, including the level of physicality with the presence of hard-banging players.
And some of the protagonists, including Aces’ do-it-all forward Calvin Abueva and rugged Elasto Painters center Beau Belga, guarantees an all-out brawl between two title-starved teams aiming to fulfill their respective championship dreams.
“Parehong team, gustong manalo. At sabi nila, lagyan daw ng konting anghang ang series na ‘to,” said the 6-foot-6 Belga on Thursday during the pre-finals press conference at the PBA Cafe-Metrowalk in Ortigas, Pasig City.
The 6-foot-2 Abueva said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to help the Aces get back at the Elasto Painters, who foiled them during their previous playoffs meeting back in the 2014 PBA Governors Cup semifinals behind a 3-2 series win.
“Basta kami maglalaro na lang kami,” he said. “Magiging magandang laban ‘to katulad nu’ng last semis na natalo nila kami. Siguro makakabawi kami sa kanila.
“Itong finals na ‘to, buhos na talaga ang lahat. Trophy na ang pinag-aagawan dito,” added Abueva, the leading candidate for the Best Player of the Conference award.
Rain or Shine center Raymund Almazan, who had numerous physical battles with Abueva since their collegiate days at NCAA, said he expects everyone to give their all since the mid-season’s ultimate prize is up for grabs.
“Trabaho lang, walang personalan. Sa labas ng court, magkakaibigan naman kami. Sayang ‘yung bonus at alam naman nila ‘yun,” said Almazan, the former Letran big man who used to go at it with the Abueva-led San Sebastian side.
Even injured Alaska forward Vic Manuel, who’s still recuperating from a right calf strain, said he is bracing for his match-up with Belga if and when he recovers at the course of the finals.
“Kung makakabalik man ako, paghahandaan ko talaga si Beau,” he said, drawing chuckles from Belga. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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