In a huddle with reporters just by the team’s dugout, Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero on Sunday night identified a laundry list of issues his charges have to address to make their Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Finals series with San Miguel truly competitive.
“We need to do a better job finding better shots,” he said with a long face on the heels of a 109-85 Game 2 beatdown at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. “We need to fix our transition defense also because they had so many threes, especially in the first quarter.”
Little did Victolero know that he will also have to worry about missing one of his stars when Magnolia tries to tab its first win in the best-of-seven championship series in Game 3 on Wednesday.
Calvin Abueva faces stiff penalties for figuring in an altercation with the Beermen’s Mo Tautuaa and his wife Aida just as the members and relatives of the two teams were heading for the bayside venue’s exits.
Commissioner Willie Marcial, in a phone call with the Inquirer on Monday morning, said that his office had already begun looking into the incident.
“I’ve talked to the San Miguel management and Mo last night. We’re now gathering videos and eyewitness accounts to determine the proper sanctions for whoever is responsible,” he said.
The league chief said he is also planning to meet personally with Abueva and Tautuaa, who were once teammates in the Gilas Pilipinas squad that competed in the 2015 William Jones Cup.
Abueva told reporters on Sunday night that he was irked by the comments made by Tautuaa’s wife toward him in front of his children. He later confronted the couple with his wife Sam, hurling expletives and even provoking the Filipino-Tongan into a fistfight.
The eccentric Magnolia forward, known as “The Beast” for his tireless work rate, also had a heated exchange with San Miguel head coach Jorge Gallent during the match shortly after fouling Tautuaa in the fourth period of the contest. Both Abueva and Gallent were slapped with a technical foul, with the latter later revealing that the 2013 Rookie of the Year made fun of his visual disability.
Stills from the game broadcast show Abueva making a face when the cameras panned at him after he returned to the Magnolia bench.
Three years ago, Abueva served the longest suspension ever handed out by the PBA. That ban, which was a punishment for several misconducts, lasted for 16 months and kept him from suiting up for former team Phoenix.
Abueva was also in hot water for alleged domestic violence in late 2019.The incident took the spotlight away from San Miguel’s domination of its corporate sibling and Marcio Lassiter’s historic outing. The veteran marksman moved to No. 5 in the league’s All-Time 3-Points list, eclipsing Ronnie Magsanoc with his 1,173 triples made.
But more importantly, the episode could take away from the Hotshots a tireless forward in their bid to solve the “offensive juggernaut” of the Beermen. INQ