MANILA, Philippines — Rain or Shine import Bruno Sundov picked the most inopportune time to be at his worst.
Sundov, the seven-foot-three Croatian, recorded just 12 points and six rebounds in limited minutes due to foul trouble.
Sundov was also a liability on defense as he struggled to match up with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s athletic import Vernon Macklin, who posted 24 points, including the Kings’ final four points, on top of 16 rebounds and six assists.
Macklin also had a block which emphatically denied what would’ve been an easy layup for Jeff Chan in the waning seconds of Game 2.
“It’s the worst game for Bruno and it had to come when it was our biggest game,” ROS head coach Yeng Guiao said after his squad became the ninth team with a twice-to-beat advantage to get booted out since the incentive was institutionalized in the 1996 Governors’ Cup.
“Had our import grabbed 10 rebounds instead of six, it would’ve made the difference,” Guiao added.
Apart from Sundov’s poor play, Guiao also cited that the Elasto Painters also didn’t get their needed production from their local big men.
“What we also lacked in these last few games is the scoring from our big men aside from our import,” Guiao pointed out. “Beau and JR medyo hindi gumana yung offense nila, so those are the things we have to look at.”
Beau Belga only had five points on two-of-eight shooting from the field in 32 minutes while JR Quiñahan had more fouls than points not to mention a couple of ill-advised attempts down the stretch in 10 minutes of play.
But despite an early exit after losing to the Kings 79-81 in Game 2 Monday night, Guiao also saw bright spots this conference.
“There are some good things to this conference. We were second place, we had a twice-to-beat advantage of course we were not able to make full use of that. I think Chris Tiu is playing a lot better than when he started with us. Paul Lee and Jeff (Chan) I think are getting better it’s just that we need them to explode at the same time and not just alternate scoring during games.”
Lee had 14 points, four rebounds and four assists while Chan scored only nine points. Both struggled mightily from the floor — combining for eight-of-27 shooting and both missed shots at the end that would’ve at least forced overtime.
“It wasn’t really for us,” admitted Guiao. “We gave it our best shot but somehow we couldn’t get our offense going. We had easy layups, we had some chances even up to the end, some follow ups around the rim that didn’t go in. Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you want them to be but there’s always something you can learn from the experience. I keep saying that this is a young team and these things are going to make us stronger in the future.”
“I’m disappointed but I don’t think that we had a bad season. Playing in the finals last conference, winning a championship before that and then second place in the eliminations. We just couldn’t make the semis.”