For three straight games, we expected Calvin Abueva to unleash his awesomeness on our foes.
However, the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup has been a trial for the Alaska Ace.
He rammed his head to China’s Li Gen after a stiff shot. He was sent to the showers afterwards and missed the action en route to the epic victory over China. Early foul trouble pinned The Beast at the start of the Iraq match and then blood to the elbows caused him to prematurely glue his butt on the bench. Against Qatar, it’s a tossup between slippery floor and slippery shoes as Calvin slipped twice with the second one sending him to the bench for good. His luck is so bad that the normally serious Chot Reyes laughed at Calvin when the latter was sent to bench during the Iraq game.
But I can’t stress the importance of a sane Calvin Abueva to Gilas Pilipinas’ cause. As of this moment, our enemies have seen the kinks of our armor. We have a shallow frontline. We are just eleven players deep and perhaps we could have used another forward if Norwood can play point leaving Jio Jalalon with limited minutes. We depend on our shooters too much. I guess this should thrill people… but Gilas has better percentage shooting far from the basket than near it. Gilas Pilipinas is also walking wounded with June Mar Fajardo doubtful and Christian Standhardinger playing hurt.
Gabe Norwood is 6’6 and thank goodness he’s 6’6 because he can play point, defend on the scorers, and even fight the odds inside the paint.
Gilas Pilipinas will take on the winner of the Korea versus Japan match. Oh Korea… you scare the living hell off me whenever my team takes on yours. Oh Se Keun leads the team in scoring with Kim Sun Hyung being the other Korean to average in double digits. Oh also leads the Koreans in rebounds while Park Chan Hee sets up the most number of assists. Familiar name Makoto Hiejima leads Japan with nearly eleven points per game. Kosuke Takeuchi is averaging just a shade under seven points and six rebounds. Naturalized big man Ira Brown is not the big scorer while Takatoshi Furukawa is the other Japanese threat.
Korea and Japan have better 2-point field goal clips than Gilas Pilipinas. Gilas trumps the 3-point shooting percentage of Korea but Japan has better clearance in the triple zone as well at the charity stripe. Both teams match up well against Gilas Pilipinas and of course, I root for Japan to topple our archenemies.
And this is why we need to get more from Calvin Abueva.
The Beast is the X-Factor. He is there to make a free flowing match into some sort of wild rapid adventure. Abueva plays without the restrictions of height. His outside shooting is suspect but he will try his luck for every opportunity to help his team.
I know at times he’s a liability but if his game does work, then it’s GG for the other side.