Arwind Santos of San Miguel (left) and Calvin Abueva of Phoenix clash for the first time since the Philippine Cup semifinals last year. (PBA Images)

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–All eyes will be on Arwind Santos and Calvin Abueva when San Miguel and Phoenix clash on Thursday night. 

Santos, a native of Lubao, and Abueva, a child of Angeles City, are both proud products of Pampanga where the PBA Philippine Cup bubble is being held. 

The 6:45 p.m. match between the Beermen (5-2) and the Fuel Masters (5-3) at the AUF Arena marks the first time that the two Kapampangans face each other on the court exactly 560 days removed. 

Santos and San Miguel mangled Abueva and the top seed Phoenix, 105-94, to prevail in last year’s Philippine Cup semifinals, 4-1, before the Beermen went on to capture an unprecedented fifth Jun Bernardino trophy. 

Abueva would then be suspended indefinitely on June 4, 2019 after taking a clothesline hit on TNT import Terrence Jones and doing lewd gestures against Ray Parks Jr.’s girlfriend. 

After a 16-month wait, Abueva’s suspension was lifted by commissioner Willie Marcial on October 25. He came through with a roaring return in the PBA in Phoenix’s 114-110 win over NLEX the next day. 

Santos said he’s glad that Abueva managed to work his way back from a challenging chapter in his basketball career. 

“Masaya naman tayo doon. At syempre number one ang Phoenix masaya at ang mga kabalen nating Kapampangan.” 

The 39-year-old forward offered his advice to his younger kabalen.

“Enjoy the game lang Calvin and kalimutan mo na ‘yun. Stay positive lang every game at dasal lang palagi.” 

Source: Manila Bulletin (