ANTIPOLO CITY - Norman Black's biggest concern for Meralco in the PBA Commissioner's Cup haunted him again on Sunday night.
Only a single local player complemented import Gani Lawal in a 93-89 loss to Alaska at the Ynares Center that snapped the team's two-game winning run in the mid-season conference.
Lawal had monster numbers of 27 points and 26 rebounds, but hardly got help from the rest of the Bolts as only Baser Amer finished in double figures along the locals with 11 points.
Black said Meralco needs the other locals to contribute if the team is to advance to the playoffs.
"It seems when the locals are involved on offense, then we do a lot better," said the champion coach.
"But the offense was a little bit stagnant as it was tonight. We only had 13 assists and we struggled. So we need better ball movement if we want to win," he added.
"Games that we moved the basketball, we won. And in the games that we're a bit one-on-one oriented, we lost. So I'm preaching that everyday. I just hope that it sticks with the players every game."
Still the Bolts managed to make the game close down the wire, and only lost it when Alaska went on a closing 5-2 run sparked by Chris Banchero.
But even if Meralco managed to pull it through, Black felt his team didn't deserve to win.
"To be honest with you the way we played tonight, I don't think we deserved to win the game," said the Meralco coach, noting the number of turnovers committed by the Bolts (22) and their struggles from the free throw line (10-of-23).
"If you missed that many foul shots and turn the ball over that much, then don't expect to win."
Meralco fell to an even 3-3 record overall.