JV Casio can still vividly remember that heartbreaking moment.
One moment he was cruising all alone for a fastbreak layup that could give Alaska the lead in Game Four of the PBA Governors Cup semifinals against Rain or Shine - and leave the Aces just seconds away from a place in the finals.
The next thing he knew, Casio was down on the floor after slipping on a wet spot on the floor, getting injured in the process.
Worse, Rain or Shine, let off the hook, made the most of the break to win Game Four in overtime, 123-121. The Elasto Painters won the deciding game as well which Casio sat out.
On Sunday night, Casio and the Aces got another shot at Rain or Shine in a Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal series after blowing away Meralco, 87-69, in a knockout game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Casio, however, said he has long put that unfortunate incident behind him but is nonetheless happy to get another shot at the Elasto Painters in a playoff.
“Tapos na iyun (Governors Cup semis last season). It’s really this conference (that matters). Being here (in the Philippine Cup semifinals), we got to prepare hard kasi gusto din naming manalo,” Casio said.
Casio believes that the team that draws first blood in the series will have a decided edge.
“Game One is very important. Maybe, it’s setting the tone but most of it will come from the efforts of the players kasi alam naman natin na yung Rain or Shine is a strong team,” said the 28-year-old former Smart Gilas guard.
Alaska bowed to Rain or Shine, 98-95 in the Aces’ last elimination round match last week in a game that saw them blow a seven-point in the final three minutes.
Casio said it won't be easy against Rain or Shine, especially since coach Yeng Guiao’s deep rotation of 10 to 12 players per game has helped it win seven games in a row on the way to clinching an automatic semifinal seat.
“They are a very strong team kaya you can let up against them kasi one mistake can be crucial. That’s why every possession and every second of the game is important,” he added.