MANILA - The Meralco Bolts blew a chance to force overtime against Rain or Shine on Sunday after a sorry miss by Raymond Almazan at the buzzer.
They were down by just two points, 83-81, and had gotten a stop when Allen Durham blocked Rich Ross on the other end. The Meralco import drove down the length of the court then dropped the ball off to Almazan, who immediately put up the shot in an attempt to beat the buzzer.
He missed, however, and his putback also couldn't find the bottom of the net as time expired. Rain or Shine escaped with the two-point win, allowing them to stay alive in the race to the quarterfinals of the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup.
"Break of the game eh," lamented Almazan, whose late miss squandered a superb 18-point, 19-rebound performance. "May timeout pa kami na isa eh, and it happens na lang."
"Kahit no-bearing game sa amin, siyempre gusto ko pa rin manalo," he added.
The defeat dropped Meralco to 8-3 to finish the elimination round, though they are already assured of a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals regardless of the result.
Though they have yet to know their opponent, Almazan and the Bolts have already shifted their focus to the playoffs.
"We need to learn from it na lang siguro," he said of the loss. "Okay ding matalo kami before coming (to the quarterfinals). So at least, hindi kami mag-relax, and then ready kami every game."
Meanwhile, Almazan also made it clear that his strong performance was in no means a message to his former team. The Elasto Painters had traded him to the Bolts in May 2019.
"Hindi, enjoy lang ako kanina," said Almazan, who added that he was even joking around with Beau Belga, his longtime teammate with Rain or Shine and Gilas.
"Meron pa silang chance siguro ngayon, 'di ba. Nothing personal, trabaho lang," he insisted.