Sports

Protection has taken the highlight in Meralco-Ginebra sequence, as that is the one means the Govs’ Cup may be gained, says Black


Tony Bishop Jr. rejects a Scottie Thompson layup to typify the tough defensive stand of the Bolts in this series. —PHOTOS FROM PBA IMAGES

Tony Bishop Jr. rejects a Scottie Thompson layup to typify the powerful defensive stand of the Bolts on this sequence. —PHOTOS FROM PBA IMAGES

Norman Black has been saying all of it alongside: If there’s something that may carry Meralco previous Barangay Ginebra on this Governors’ Cup finalé, it’s going to be protection.

And with that drilled of their minds, the Bolts performed protection like there was no tomorrow final Sunday night time, delivering a cutthroat efficiency at Mall of Asia Arena to carry their outdated tormentors to simply 13 factors in every of the 2 closing frames for an 83-74 victory that eased them out entrance on this best-of-seven championship sequence, 2-1.

Meralco additionally shackled the defending champion Gin Kings to their lowest output this season since an 84-71 loss by the hands of TNT within the Philippine Cup quarterfinals.

But Black additionally tipped his hat to the Kings, who put the Bolts in holes as deep as 13 factors within the first half.

They have been capable of climb out of that utilizing primarily one factor, that’s proper, protection.

It took a halftime pow-wow when Black talked concerning the late nice nationwide coach Ron Jacobs to fireside up his Bolts to reply the second half horn with dogged resolve.

“I [told] them a story about how I remember the great coach Ron Jacobs telling me that if you (the opponent) shoot a very high percentage in the first half, and you are only up a few points, that is not very good,” he mentioned. Meralco trailed, 48-40. “The different staff definitely has an opportunity of coming again.

“So it was just a way of trying to get my players understand that we were still in the game,” Black went on. “That we still had a chance to come back. We just had to play a little bit better defense and play better offense, which we did in the second half.”

Save for an and-one play from the tireless Christian Standhardinger, it was all Meralco starting the 6:22 mark of the payoff body.

‘More on us’

“We panicked down the stretch and we didn’t, obviously, hit shots,” mentioned Ginebra coach Tim Cone. “We were going for hero-ball shots and [not] trying to get good shots. We got a little bit selfish. We weren’t moving the ball.”

But then once more, the Meralco protection compelled them to take these pictures as lots of Game 2 heroes for the Kings in a 99-93 win, like import Justin Brownlee, struggled.

NORMAN BLACK Meralco Bolts coach

NORMAN BLACK
Meralco Bolts coach

“I feel like this one is more so on us, you know,” mentioned Brownlee, who was compelled by Cliff Hodge to 1-for-10 capturing from three-point vary. “Like I’ve mentioned, give lots of credit score to Meralco, however I actually really feel like we sort of beat ourselves, you understand, not making free throws. We additionally didn’t hit the pictures that we usually make.

“A lot of credit to Meralco, but I feel like this one is on us,” he went on.

Hodge highlighted how laborious the Bolts labored defensively, when he blocked a Standhardinger quick stab after which drew a charging foul from the transitioning Ginebra middle within the subsequent play.

Hodge was scoreless for the night time, however was clearly the catalyst of the hard-nosed Meralco defensive stand.

Meralco really shot worse from the sector—35 % in opposition to Ginebra’s 40—however that spirited second-half effort really modified the complexion of the competition witnessed by a league pandemic period report of 16,104 spectators.

The two golf equipment go at it once more this Wednesday when the sequence returns to Smart Araneta Coliseum, with Ginebra to welcome again Japeth Aguilar.

But Black insists Meralco has been prepared since.

“I believed he was gonna play in Game 1. So I’ve been anticipating him to point out up each recreation. I knew as soon as we misplaced Game 2 he was gonna play on this sequence as a result of we now have the Holy Week break. I figured that may give him sufficient time to return again.

“[W]e’ll just wait and see. When he’s out there on the court, of course he gives them a big presence in the middle, very athletic presence. But yeah, we’ll just wait and see if he plays next game,” he added. INQ

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