Magnolia Pambansang Manok coach Chito Victolero said he’ll give Calvin Abueva the benefit of the doubt as he tries to get back into his old form in the upcoming PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series against Meralco.
Abueva made his return during the Hotshots’ 127-88 quarterfinal triumph over the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, posting 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists in 19 minutes off the bench.
Though the numbers looked like Abueva didn’t miss a step after being sidelined for the last seven games of the eliminations due to an injured calf, Victolero believes the energetic forward is in the adjustment stage.
“Yung timing na lang at yung kondisyon na lang niya,” Victolero said. “Andoon na siya, but he needs more games para makuha yung rhythm niya.”
Nonetheless, Abueva’s return is a welcome development for the Hotshots as they are now in full strength heading into their second semifinal meeting with the Bolts.
The Hotshots had beaten the Bolts in six games during the Philippine Cup semis, and are slightly favored to pull off a repeat performance.
But the Bolts showed that they can compete after their resounding victory over the San Miguel Beermen and their import Shabazz Muhammad in the quarters.
“We’re really happy because we’re going into war with all of my soldiers are healthy. Yun lang maganda,” he said.
Defensive-minded swingman Rome dela Rosa came back late in the elims while Ian Sangalang is also healthy after missing one game due to a sore knee.
But the biggest reasons why Magnolia went 9-2 in the elims followed by the rout of Phoenix have been import Mike Harris, Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon and Adrian Wong.