MANILA, Philippines – No annoying on-court antics could ruin the friendship between Phoenix's Calvin Abueva and his former Alaska teammate Vic Manuel.
Manuel shrugged off the way Abueva tried to get under his skin as Alaska clashed with Phoenix in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup on Wednesday, August 29 – which marked the first time the Aces played against "The Beast."
"Walang personalan, laro lang kami palagi. Parang medyo nangiliti lang kanina. Pero 'yang pagkakaibigan namin, sobrang lalim talaga," said Manuel, who played alongside Abueva for almost five years.
(There's nothing personal. We were focused on the game. He had a few antics but our friendship goes deep.)
Both known for their intensity and physicality, the two got into it throughout the game.
Late in the first quarter, Manuel lowered his shoulder against Abueva, who then fell down to the ground. A few minutes later, Manuel fell on top of Abueva as they battled for the ball.
There was even one instance when Abueva ignored a high five from Manuel.
But "The Muscleman" knows it's just a part of Abueva's on-court repertoire.
"'Di naman niya ako maasar e. Kilalang kilala ko 'yan. 'Yung mga ginagawa niya, alam na alam ko na 'yun. Focus lang ako sa laro ko. Hindi naman niya masisira 'yung laro ko basta basta."
(He can't annoy me. I know him too well. I know everything that he does. I am just focused on how I play and he can't easily distract me.)
While Abueva had a considerably better showing with 18 points and 9 rebounds, Manuel – who had 9 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals – got the last laugh as Alaska hacked out a 108-97 victory.
The Aces clinched solo first place in the standings with a perfect 3-0 card while the Fuel Masters absorbed their first loss and fell to 2-1.
After the game, Manuel dedicated an Instagram post to his "pare."
Finally happen! Kala ko hanggan s practice nlng nten tayo mgkakaganituhan. Btw nice game pare.@calvin.abueva.9465 Goodluck s mga next games nyo! Godbless you! See you around. Good to see you totally back in the court. #Thebeast #brotherhood @richardesguerra A post shared by Vic Manuel (@vicman87_) on Aug 29, 2018 at 7:50am PDT
Abueva and Phoenix seek to return to the winning column against TNT on Friday, August 31 while Manuel and Alaska look to make it four wins in a row against Barangay Ginebra on Sunday, September 2. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.