ANTIPOLO City – Meralco finished its elimination-round campaign in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup behind a three-game skid.
Nothing to worry about, The playoffs is an entirely new ballgame for the Bolts.
Alex Stepheson acknowledged that while a 90-89 loss against Barangay Ginebra on Sunday night was not exactly the proper way for the Bolts to end their campaign heading to the quarterfinals, the hulking import believes the fresh start in the next round could help the team get its confidence back.
“We just got to forget about it. We’ve learned from the mistakes we’ve made,” he said following the game at the Ynares Sports Center here.
"The playoffs is a new (season). So we just got to focus on winning (again)."
Meralco ended up with a 7-4 record at the end of its elimination-round stint. The consecutive losses to Globalport, Star, and Ginebra denied the team of a Top 2 going to the next round, although good enough to play in a best-of-three series, possibly against sister team TnT Katropa.
Despite the skid, the 29-year-old Stepheson still likes the attitude of the Bolts inside the court, especially against the Kings, where they almost pulled it off in the waning seconds if only Chris Newsome’s outlet pass to Cliff Hodge wasn’t a tad strong.
“We played hard. They really have a good team, and we wanted to finish strong and get some momentum going to the playoffs,” stressed Stepheson, who had 18 points and 20 rebounds, but committed a total of seven turnovers.”We lost but we fought.”
Stepheson lamented playing mediocre in the Bolts’ 108-90 loss to the Hotshots in a game where he was held to conference lows of nine points and nine rebounds. He blamed food poisoning as the main culprit for it.
“I ate something bad. Last game was really tough for me,” he admitted.
“I don’t even know. We had an off-day and I was eating a lot, and I was just relaxing,” he said of the incident. “It got me. I wasn't sure what it was but it got me pretty bad.”
But he managed to bounce back against the Kings, an approach he believes the Bolts are also capable of doing even after losing three in a row.
“We’re gonna bounce back and be ready for the first round of the playoffs,” vowed Stepheson.