WITH so many things going through his mind after Meralco's loss to league newcomer Globalport on Wednesday night, Bolts coach Ryan Gregorio still had the presence of mind to make one thing clear to his players.
“I told my players, ‘Chalk up this loss to Ryan Gregorio.’ I lost my focus in this game,” said a visibly disappointed Meralco head coach at the end of the Bolts' 105-104 loss to the Batang Pier in one of the most forgettable days in his career as a coach.
Gregorio's misery started at halftime when he realized that his bag was one of those taken away by a burglar who managed to enter the Meralco dugout at the state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena.
So even before he could make a full accounting of what he had lost, and in the middle of the investigation and ensuing commotion after the burglary was discovered, Gregorio had to give instructions to his wife through his staff that his credit cards and phone lines be cancelled.
Worse, he had to return to the game to coach.
“Before the second half started, I had to ask one of my assistant coaches to call my wife to tell her about the incident. I told her to cut my credit cards, secure our bank accounts ... etc," Gregorio said.
The Bolts still looked all right after the incident, leading by as much as 14 points in the third quarter. But when the Batang Pier waged a strong fourth-quarter comeback led by Willie Miller and rookie Jason Deutchman, Gregorio couldn't reverse the trend, simply because he just couldn't focus.
As if losing a game the Bolts should've won wasn't painful enough, Gregorio had to stay behind to talk to investigators and assess his losses: an iPad containing his files for his game plans and corporate work, an iPhone where his backup files are all stored, wallet containing cash, cards, documents.
Most of all, Gregorio rued all the pictures of his kids stored in his iPad and phone, which he said he will never see again.
“Losing my money, that’s fine with me, I can earn it back, but I felt I was stripped," the 40-year-old coach said. "I lost my iPad, that’s where I stored all my game plans, corporate files and other stuff. But what I can’t forget are the pictures of my kids that are stored there.”