The demons of the previous conference still refuse to leave the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

After a desperation trey from Calvin Abueva (8 pts, 14 rebs) to tie the game at 81 with 10 seconds to play, Rain or Shine smartly went to import Bruno Sundov (30 pts, 15 rebs) inside for a chance to win the game. Banging with Robert Dozier (21 pts, 16 rebs) inside, Sundov failed to see Calvin Abueva flying in from behind to thwart his attempt inside and after a scuffle, the ball found its way to a streaking Cyrus Baguio (9 pts) who went coast to coast for a tough right handed shot that went in as the final buzzer sounded, allowing Alaska to escape their conference opener with an 83-81 win.

Cyrus Baguio, Alaska Aces

Baguio w/ the buzzer-beating lay-up. (Photo Credit: InterAKTV)

Both teams were as expected, led by their imports, but Alaska got ample support from its locals, with Casio dropping 11 points and 5 assists and Sonny Thoss chipping in 17 points. For Rain or Shine, outside of Bruno Sundov’s dominance inside, no other ROS player scored in double digits, with Lee, Norwood and Chan all finishing with 8 markers.

Let’s revisit our keys to the game:

1. Let’s Get Physical: The painter’s last possession was as physical as it can get, with Dozier and Abueva hacking Sundov multiple times. The officials predictably swallowed their whistles at this stage of the game which gave Baguio that game winning drive. Advantage: Alaska

2. Height is Might: After 40 minutes of play, Sundov finished with 30 points (65% shooting, 8/10 FTs) and 15 rebounds. Even though he didn’t block a shot (actually Rain or Shine didn’t block a single shot in this game), he was clearly dominant in this game. Advantage: Rain or Shine

3. Guard Play: Stats wise, both team’s guard rotations played to a wash, but in the end game, Baguio was just at the right place at the right time to give the Aces the win. Advantage: Alaska

Tough, tough loss for Rain or Shine, but there are some positives from this game, most important would be Bruno Sundov’s dominance inside. What they desperately need now though, is for their locals to play better.

Next up for the Painters would be a clash vs. the 1-0 Meralco Bolts on Saturday in Palawan.