Phoenix forward Calvin Abueva (Photo from Delta Sportswear)

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY—With the quarterfinals berth and a shot for the twice-to-beat incentive on the line, Calvin Abueva made sure that Phoenix would not lose in such a crucial match on Monday. 

Abueva showed the way for the Fuel Masters, unloading a near triple-double of 17 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists to go with two steals and two blocks in a come-from-behind 100-95 victory over the Blackwater Elite at the AUF Arena. 

The bruiser from Angeles City connived with Jason Perkins and Brian Heruela to pull Phoenix out of a 16-point hole, 34-50, in the third quarter and ignite its 66-point explosion in the closing frames. 

The comeback win assured the Topex Robinson-coached team a spot in the quarterfinals and strengthened its bid for a twice-to-beat incentive. 

“Ayaw namin sayangin ‘yung pagkakataon na ‘to na mapunta kami sa top four. Talagang dito binuhos namin,” said Abueva. 

The 31-year-old cager has been dishing out impressive averages of 15.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.0 assists in five games since his PBA return following a 16-month suspension. 

Abueva obviously showed a tamed character after that tough chapter in his basketball career, but remained as “The Beast” that he was known for on both ends of the floor. 

And the energetic forward has no plans of slowing down even in Phoenix’s last assignment against Rain or Shine in the final game of the elimination round on Wednesday. 

“‘Yung last game namin against Rain or Shine kailangan ibuhos pa namin lahat,” he said. “Kailangan namin pumukpok dito. Hanggang dulo makikipagsabayan kami.” 

Source: Manila Bulletin (