Norman Black has been saying all of it alongside: If there’s something that can elevate Meralco previous Barangay Ginebra in this Governors’ Cup finalé, it’s going to be protection.
And with that drilled in their minds, the Bolts performed protection like there was no tomorrow final Sunday evening, turning in a cutthroat efficiency at Mall of Asia Area to carry their previous tormentors to only 13 factors in every of the two closing frames for an 83-74 victory that eased them out entrance in 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 at the palms of TNT in the Philippine Cup quarterfinals.
However Black additionally tipped his hat to the Kings, who put the Bolts in holes as deep as 13 factors in the first half.
They had been in a position to climb out of that utilizing primarily one factor, that’s proper, protection.
It took a halftime pow-wow when Black talked about 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 stated. Meralco trailed, 48-40. “The opposite 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,” stated 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.”
However then once more, the Meralco protection pressured them to take these photographs as loads of Sport 2 heroes for the Kings in a 99-93 win, like import Justin Brownlee, struggled.
“I feel like this one is more so on us, you know,” stated Brownlee, who was pressured by Cliff Hodge to 1-for-10 taking pictures from three-point vary. “Like I’ve stated, give loads of credit score to Meralco, however I actually really feel like we type of beat ourselves, you recognize, not making free throws. We additionally didn’t hit the photographs 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 arduous the Bolts labored defensively, when he blocked a Standhardinger brief stab after which drew a charging foul from the transitioning Ginebra heart in the subsequent play.
Hodge was scoreless for the evening, however was clearly the catalyst of the hard-nosed Meralco defensive stand.
Meralco truly shot worse from the discipline—35 p.c towards Ginebra’s 40—however that spirited second-half effort actually modified the complexion of the contest witnessed by a league pandemic period report of 16,104 spectators.
The 2 golf equipment go at it once more this Wednesday when the sequence returns to Good Araneta Coliseum, with Ginebra to welcome again Japeth Aguilar.
However Black insists Meralco has been prepared since.
“I believed he was gonna play in Sport 1. So I’ve been anticipating him to point out up each recreation. I knew as soon as we misplaced Sport 2 he was gonna play in this sequence as a result of now we have the Holy Week break. I figured that may give him sufficient time to come back 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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