EVERYONE will more or less know what Meralco will be focusing on when it resumes practice on Monday ahead of Game Three of the PBA Governors Cup Finals.
Coach Norman Black admitted the Bolts' failure to control the boards contributed to the team’s downfall in an 82-79 loss to Barangay Ginebra in Game Two of the best-of-seven title series.
Sol Mercado’s offensive rebound off import Allen Durham and Reynel Hugnatan in the final 28 seconds gave the Kings the lead for good, 81-79, and paved the way for the league’s most popular ballclub to tie the series at 1-1 apiece.
While the rebounding discrepancy between the two squads is not telling – 49-45 in favor of the Kings – Black still believed it was the major factor that decided the outcome of the closely-fought game played before more than 18,000 fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I told my players it’s difficult to win a game like this if you don’t rebound the basketball, and we’ve got beaten on the boards badly in the first half,” said Black in his post-game interview.
“We actually lost the game on an offensive rebound by Sol Mercado.”
Incidentally, the offensive rebound was just the second for Mercado for the night. The stocky Fil-Am guard finished with a total of six boards.
Black said rebounding will definitely be the Bolts’ priority for the rest of the series, which is now down to a best-of-five.
“That’s the number one thing we have to address in practice. Certainly, we would not be doing rebounding drills, but mentally, we just have to focus on the fact that we got killed on the board tonight,” the grand slam coach pointed out.
“That they got a lot of offensive rebounds and we paid the price for it.”