IF Rain or Shine's Game Six loss to San Mig on Wednesday night is heartbreaking for the veteran players, it should be thrice the pain for rookies Jeric Teng and Raymond Almazan.
For the third successive year as they moved from college to the pro ranks, both Teng and Almazan have found themselves fighting for a championship in the Finals, only to come up short each time.
They Said It!
“Sobrang hirap for me, back-to-back-to-back na akong umaabot sa Finals na hindi nagcha-champion." Rain or Shine rookie and former UST Tiger Jeric Teng
"Sobrang hirap for me, back-to-back-to-back na akong umaabot sa Finals na hindi nagcha-champion," said Teng, trying hard to keep his spirits up after San Mig's 4-2 win in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
The older of the two basketball-playing sons of former PBA player Alvin Teng starred for University of Santo Tomas in college but never got to lift a trophy in two finals appearances in his last two seasons with the Tigers, losing to Ateneo in 2012 and to brother Jeron and De La Salle last season.
He hoped his fate in the pro ranks would be different. Not so.
"Heartbreaking loss pa rin," said the 12th pick overall in this season's PBA rookie draft. "Kasi nag-expect ako na mananalo kami pero ayun hindi talaga binigay sa amin."
It has been no different for teammate Almazan, who said the pain he felt after Rain or Shine's setback was just as painful as the disappointment over the defeats suffered by his Letran team to San Beda the past two NCAA finals.
"Durug na durog na ang puso ko kasi mahal ko talaga ang paglalaro ng basketball kaya masakit sa akin."
That the No. 3 pick overall of the last rookie draft has experienced Finals disappointment with the Knights doesn't make the Elasto Painters' failure any easier to swallow, Almazan said.
"Napagdaanan ko na ito, natalo na rin ako sa NCAA, kaya may salitang bawi eh, bawi na lang next conference," said Almazan.
Still, the two nearly men remain hopeful the elusive championship will come sooner rather than later.
"Hindi pa rin naman nagbabago yung motivation ko na makuha ko 'yung championship kahit saang liga lalo na dito sa PBA," said Almazan. "Siguro konti na lang andoon na ako sa tugatog ng tagumpay.
"Siguro hindi pa talaga time, siguro ibibigay naman sa akin ni God 'yan pag time na talaga," he added.
Teng said: "Ganoon talaga basketball. Pahinga muna work na lang for next conference."