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Perkins look forward to semis showdown with mentor Abueva

January 23 ------ THE last time Jason Perkins made the semifinals of the PBA, he and Calvin Abueva were still teammates at Phoenix. Fast forward four years later, the two will share the same playing court again but playing on the opposite end. As Phoenix nabbed the last Final Four berth in the Commissioner’s Cup, the Fuel Masters arranged a best-of-five series against the top seeded Magnolia Hotshots in a showdown that will have Perkins matching up against a player he considers as his close friend. “When he was my teammate, he was one of my close friends,” said the 31-year-old Phoenix forward. He’s a mentor of mine. I look up to Calvin. He’s one of my favorite players even before.” 


Together, they helped Phoenix make it all the way to the semifinals of the 2020 Philippine Cup bubble and was actually one win sthe short of making the finals for the first time in franchise history. However, the Fuel Masters lost to TNT in the deciding Game 5. Shortly after, Abueva was traded by the Fuel Masters to Magnolia for Chris Banchero and two draft picks. Now, the student and mentor go up against each other with the stakes a lot higher.  


Perkins is certainly thrilled facing Abueva in the semis after initially winning his match up with Cliff Hodge in the Fuel Masters’ semifinal series against the Meralco Bolts. “I’m more than excited playing against Calvin,” said the former La Salle standout, who finished with a double-double of 19 points (6-of-12) and 13 rebounds in the 88-84 closeout win against the Bolts Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena. “Even outside of basketball, it’s always nice to see Calvin. I’m excited to play against him.” he added. 


Game 1 of the semifinals series between the no. 1 seed Hotshots and the fourth-seed Fuel Masters begins on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 




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