MANILA, Philippines, June 22 ------ The PBA yesterday slapped Magnolia’s Calvin Abueva with a one-game suspension and P10,000 fine for his “unsportsmanlike conduct” in the Hotshots’ Manila Clasico duel with Barangay Ginebra last Sunday.
Abueva, according to commissioner Willie Marcial, was penalized for “spitting” on the floor in the said match, where he was thrown out after incurring his second technical foul with still nine minutes left in the game. “Nakita natin sa video, spitting on the floor. Ginawa na rin niya ito sa Bacolor (last season) at sinabihan na rin natin siya (that time) na kapag naulit pa, suspension na,” Marcial told The STAR. Marcial warned the controversial forward of “stiffer penalties and heavier sanction” for a similar misdemeanor in the future. “Apologetic siya,” said the PBA exec, who met with the controversial forward to hear his side in the wake of his outburst two nights before.
Marcial also took the opportunity to ask Abueva about his “Japan, Japan!” and “Bye. PBA!” yell on his way out of the MOA Arena. His words were captured on video by Spin.ph and went viral, fanning talks of a possible intention to pack his bags for the Japan B. League. “Nadala lang daw siya ng emosyon,” Marcial recalled Abueva’s explanation. “Sabi pa niya, kung pupunta raw siya ng Japan eh di sana, ginawa na niya ito habang suspended siya sa PBA (June 2019 to October 2020). Gusto niya raw talaga sa PBA at nagpakahirap daw siya para makabalik dito.”
Abueva will serve his one-game sit out in Magnolia’s next game against Phoenix on Friday.
Meanwhile, NLEX relishes its chance at payback against Barangay Ginebra today in an explosive dispute for solo second in the PBA Philippine Cup at the MOA Arena. The Road Warriors (2-1) primed up for the 6 p.m. grudge match with their Governors’ Cup semifinal conquerors with a morale-boosting 90-89 win over defending champion TNT last Thursday.
The Gin Kings (2-1), on the other hand, look to pick themselves up after yielding to Magnolia last Sunday, 89-84. Meanwhile, Converge (1-3) and Terrafirma (0-3) clash at 3 p.m., both intent on giving their sagging fortunes a boost.
“We always look forward to games against Ginebra because they’re the crowd favorites and at the same time tinalo nila kami nung semifinals,” said NLEX ace Kevin Alas, referring to their 3-1 defeat in the Governors’ Cup Final Four series. “So that alone, talagang motivation para sa amin na bumawi sa kanila,” he added.
Ginebra won’t be lacking in motivation, either, especially after its disappointing outing in the most recent “Manila Clasico” match. “We didn’t play with much energy, we were slow in our rotation and our defense inside the paint was pretty terrible,” rued coach Tim Cone. “We weren’t ready to play a tough, physical-type game. Hopefully, we learned some lessons from it and we’ll come out better. We’re going to play another highly physical team in NLEX (today) then play San Miguel back-to-back on Friday. It’s a tough schedule. We’ll see how we respond.”
A major source of concern for the Gin Kings is the status of Stanley Pringle, who is dealing with hamstring issues. The Fil-Am guard limped out in the third quarter of Sunday’s game and may not be readily available for a quick return to action.
Before the Ginebra-NLEX setto, two teams lurking in the bottom clash at 3 p.m. with the FiberXers bidding to snap a two-game slide and the injury-hit Dyip gunning for that breakthrough win.