After seeing his three-point attempt towards the end of Game 5 kiss only the front of the rim as the buzzer expired, AZ Reid lied on the Smart Araneta Coliseum floor, both hands on his forehead while in silence even as he watched the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers storm center court in celebration of a completed grand slam.
Having won the Best Import award days before, it wounded up as another conference where he could have had it all — except that he didn’t.
That picture barely bothers the two-time PBA Best Import today, but there is no other way of defining how a PBA championship has been eluding him in over three years of playing in the league.
366 days later, Reid is back in the finals, and is again setting his foot for a chase that shall push him to the limit.
“I want that big C bad,” Reid said after the San Miguel Beermen defeated his former team Rain or Shine, 117-110 to win the semi-final series, 3-1.
“[The championship] is the only thing I don’t have. I have two Best Import awards but I could care less. I have one goal and that is to win a championship. It is a great feeling to be back in the finals. It is a blessing.”
Reid knows it will, like the previous conferences, be a daunting task. Up against the Alaska Aces, the league’s best team after the end of the elimination round and the team that dethroned the defending champs Star Hotshots via a convincing 3-0 sweep, Reid senses that it will be far from easy.
“I expect Alaska. Everybody in the country knows how well Alaska plays. They have a good import, they have good locals, they have Calvin [Abueva] and [Vic] Manuel. For me, that’s the best two-big man local tandem. It will be a tough task. Nothing is easy here. Probably seven games,” he said.
Already banged up after playing more than 40 minutes in the semi-final, the prolific-scoring import says it is a matter of will.
“Nobody is a hundred percent this year so it is how bad do you want it,” he added.
And he does not care anymore about individual distinction. He has his eyes set on the ultimate goal and the only crown he has not taken home yet in his PBA career.
“I don’t look back. [The setbacks] made me stronger as a person and as a player. Again, I will try my hardest to win a championship. I know my teammates are behind me whatever happens in the finals,” he shared.
With a solid supporting crew that includes front-runners for the Best Player of the Conference award and possibly the Most Valuable Player plum, Reid believes his chances are higher this time around.
“You have to realize, I have June Mar, I have Arwind, I have Lutz, I have Lassiter, I have Ross, I have Cabagnot, I have Gabby, we are a tough team too. It is not about AZ, it is about SMB. The individual stuff, I could care less about it,” he said.
“I am thankful for the opportunity again, my chances are way higher this time. I think San Miguel probably have the best locals in the league so I have bigger chances now than before.”
The chase begins anew for Reid.