Meralco paid for listless play, poor start

Key members of the Meralco Bolts were seemingly unprepared to play in their 2016 PBA Governors Cup showdown against GlobalPort, and they paid for their lackluster effort, according to head coach Norman Black and import Allen Durham.

The Bolts erased a six-point deficit in the final 20 seconds of regulation to force overtime, but eventually lost in double overtime, 123-126, and drop to 3-3 in the tournament. It was GlobalPort's first win after four losses.

"You got to give a lot of credit to my players for coming back after being down, but you have to pass the credit to GlobalPort for really making the big shots when they had to, down the stretch," Black said after the game. "It's a tough game to lose."

Three days after stunning Rain or Shine, 109-102, behind a 16-0 run to start the game, the Bolts were lackluster against the Batang Pier, falling behind 4-11 early. They trailed by double-digits for most of the second half, before their furious comeback in the fourth quarter.

"We started off slow in the first half, and that's what really held us back in this game," said Durham, who saw his tremendous 55-point effort go to waste in the loss. "I think our focus has got to be there."

"Every team in this league can beat anybody on any night, and whether you're 0-4, or 4-4, or whatever, you gotta be ready to play. In the first half, we weren't ready to play," he acknowledged.

Black admitted that "some guys didn't come to play tonight, as far as their effort and production in the first half," and it was a big reason that they were forced to play catch-up for most of the game.

"Luckily for us, some of our bench players stepped up, and helped us get back in the basketball game," Black added. "I told my players that we're not the type of team that has one or two players who carry us."

"Everybody has to be on top of their games every night, and that didn't happen tonight," he admitted. "Some guys were a little bit listless tonight."

Both Black and Durham took comfort at how they were able to recover in the final quarter, but nevertheless stressed a need to play at a high level for the whole game.

"Definitely, we can build on how we played in the second half," said Durham. "If we would have played both halves that way, maybe the outcome would have been different. But the outcome is what it is."

"We know we gotta put 48 minutes together, and not just in the second half," he stressed. "Everybody gotta step up, and we weren't just ready to play in the first half at all."

Black added that they have no other recourse but return to the drawing board, work hard in practice, and try to come up with a better result against Blackwater.

"We're just like any other team that is trying to get wins," he said. "That's basically what we're trying to do."

"I'm not happy with the fact that we lost tonight, but at the same time, I'm happy that we came back from a large deficit, and played tough down the stretch," Black added.

"We got to get back in the drawing board, and put a lot of focus and emphasis on getting guys ready to play."

Source: ABS CBN News