by Waylon Galvez
The Alaska Aces have started preparing for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals with Calvin Abueva still nowhere in sight.
According to Alaska head coach Alex Compton, there is still no word from management with regards to the availability of the 6-foot-3 Abueva, who has been suspended indefinitely by team owner Wilfred Steven Uytengsu after missing games last month due to personal issues.
“Everything remains the same,” Compton said when interviewed by the Bulletin at a ‘closed door’ practice session Wednesday afternoon at the Hoops Gym in Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City.
“It’s not my decision to make (to lift the suspension),” he added.
Pressed to comment if he thinks a talent like Abueva – nicknamed the “Beast” – would further improve their bid for a return trip to the finals if he is on the roster, Compton did not directly answer the question.
Instead, he gave the entire team huge credit for having an amazing run so far as the Aces finished the elimination round with an 8-3 record to book the No. 2 spot in the quarterfinals with a twice-to-beat incentive.
The Aces were the first team to make the semifinals, eliminating the seventh-seeded Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok in a quarterfinal encounter Tuesday, 89-78, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The victory propelled Alaska to the semifinals for the first time in two seasons. The last time was when Compton’s team made it to the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals but lost to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
“My focus now is to prepare the team for the semifinals. The guys have been amazing so far. I don’t want to cause any distractions talking about things I don’t have control,” he added.
Alaska will face in the best-of-five semifinals the winner of the quarterfinal showdown between TNT KaTropa and defending champion San Miguel Beer. The Beermen lead the series 1-0.
Abueva played in the team’s first five games, averaging 10.4 points and 9.4 rebounds. After missing a couple of games, Uytengsu came down hard and handed the indefinite suspension.
Abueva did play and was among the players ejected in the fight-marred game between Gilas Pilipinas and Australia during a World Cup qualifier match two weeks ago at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
With him out of Alaska’s semifinal roster, his future with the team is also in question.