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The Final Score: Calvin Abueva versus Arwind Santos - it's far from over

December 8, 2012 11:49am

Two men know each other's games by heart. Calvin Abueva doesn't have enough size. Arwind Santos doesn't have enough weight. Or so it seems. Yet they play the same way. They even come from the same region. In the PBA, they are Pampanga's best.

Abueva, however, scores points and grabs rebounds for Alaska. Santos, on the other hand, scores points and grabs rebounds for Petron Blaze. Hence, every time these Cabalens meet, their similar games don't mesh. They clash.

Calvin is always compelled to score and rebound better than Arwind. Arwind is always inspired to be the bigger stat monster than Calvin. Meanwhile, we are always compelled to follow each meeting between the two. Rightfully so. What we've learned from the two games between Alaska and Petron Blaze in the Philippine Cup:  Abueva versus Santos is always a memorable event.

In their first meeting, Calvin declared his readiness to play in the PBA at Arwind's expense. I wonder if Arwind will ever forget. In the second meeting, Calvin starred in Alaska's comeback while Arwind hoped he didn't contribute to Petron's collapse.

The trend doesn't suggest that Alaska will always win over Petron. The trend suggests that: a) Petron will gladly build 21 point leads over Alaska if possible b) Alaska will try to erase those leads if allowed and c) Abueva and Santos will figure prominently in this developing story.

I asked Arwind, "Bilib ka ba sa ginagawa ni Calvin?"

“Oo naman! Lalo na for his height," Arwind answered. "So sana tuloy-tuloy."

I reacted. Arwind wishing Calvin well?

“No, no, no," Arwind, after he saw the skepticism on my face, responded. "Natural sa akin yung pumupuri lalo na pag nakikita ko yung abilidad. Pinupuri ko si Calvin kasi ang laki ng natutulong niya sa Alaska.”

There is mutual respect between Abueva and Santos off the court. I can't imagine Calvin saying otherwise. But after watching the constant hand-to-hand combat and mind games between Abueva and Santos in their first two meetings, I know there is mutual enmity on the court as well. In the emerging duel between two relentless players, that's the way it should be.

"Mas magaling ya kareng aliwang player (Mas magaling siya kaysa sa ibang players)," Calvin, when asked to describe Arwind in Kapampangan, said. "Kasi siya ing pinaka the best na player keng PBA (Kasi siya ang pinaka the best na PBA player)."

"Oyan na ing "Lahar ning Pampanga" (Ayan na ang "Lahar ng Pampanga")," Arwind, when asked to describe Calvin in Kapampangan, said. "Palusub ne keng PBA (Palusob na sa PBA)."

Calvin Abueva is 2-0 against Arwind Santos. It doesn't end there.

Because Abueva believes Santos is better than the rest; truly the best player in the PBA.

Because Santos believes Abueva roars past opponents the way lahar roars through the countryside.

Superior Arwind against Destructive Calvin. Mr. Double-Double against Mr. Double-Double. Two memorable games down. And for two talented men from Pampanga, years of future battles to go. -- GMA News
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