Abueva crowned PBA conference's best cager
Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran (philstar.com) - May 13, 2016 - 5:28am

MANILA, Philippines – Alaska Milk workhorse Calvin Abueva snapped a string of near-misses, finally rising all the way to the top and winning a first Best Player of the Conference award shortly before Game Four of the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Abueva beat Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter, Globalport’s Terrence Romeo, Tropang TNT’s Jayson Castro and Blackwater’s Carlo Lastimosa for the BPC honors that automatically made him a contender for the season MVP award.

Another automatic MVP contender is Philippine Cup BPC winner June Mar Fajardo.

Arinze Onuaku, the import who keyed Meralco’s huge turnaround from a last-place finish in the all-Filipino conference, won the Best Import award.

Meralco coach Norman Black received the Best Import trophy for Onuaku who’s already at home in the United States.

The burly Meralco import won the award over Pierre Henderson-Niles, Rob Dozier and AZ Reid. Among the four, Onuaku was the only player who played the entire conference, with the three other contenders being import subs.

Though only runner-up behind Slaughter in the stats derby, Abueva won the coveted award in runaway fashion being the hands-down choice in the balloting among the players, the media and the PBA Commissioner’s Office.

The 2013 PBA Rookie of the Year winner from San Sebastian College amassed 1,150 points as against Slaughter’s 752, Romeo’s 488, Castro’s 482 and Lastimosa’s 378

It’s another high point in the pro career of this Angeles, Pampanga native, who has been a recipient of a Mythical First Five citation and a Mythical Second Team award.

Abueva has also won one All-Defensive Team citation and has been a regular fixture in the annual PBA All-Star Game.

At the end of the Commissioner’s Cup, he’s joining the Gilas Pilipinas buildup for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament that the country is hosting at the MOA Arena on July 5-10.

He looks cinch to make the Gilas team that will battle France, New Zealand, Canada, Turkey and Senegal for a slot in the Rio Olympics.

Abueva said he would be happier if they would be able to salvage the Commissioner’s Cup championship.

As of posting time, Abueva and his teammates were trying to fend off a sweep bid by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the best-of-seven finale.

Abueva averages 17.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.4 steals in the tourney.

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