PAINFUL it may be, but Ryan Gregorio and the rest of the Meralco Bolts are man enough to accept defeat and go on with their campaign in the PLDTmyDSL-PBA Philippine Cup.
The Bolts let a won game slipped away right before their very eyes, allowing Barangay Ginebra to erase a six-point deficit in the final minute to hack out an incredible 83-82 win Saturday night behind Japeth Aguilar’s dramatic three-point shot at the buzzer.
For a while, Meralco appeared on the verge of again repeating over the Kings whom the Bolts beat in the first round, when they led, 81-75, on a slashing drive by Jared Dillinger with a minute left in the game.
That was until that huge homestretch collapse did them in.
“It was indeed, painful,” Gregorio admitted later. “But that’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.”
“We shake this off and we step-up. We move on. The world was not made for our convenience. The tough grind continues. We will not quit.”
Gregorio admitted missed free throws in the last 15 seconds hurt the Bolts’ cause as John Wilson bungled three of four foul shots given him, including the last two with 11.8 seconds to go and Meralco protecting an 82-80 lead.
But the Meralc coach didn’t want to point fingers and just reminded the Bolts that the loss be a lesson to them.
“I told my players to continue to hope. Hang on. Pain is ending. No reason to even mention why we lost the game because they are conscious about it,” he said. “Let it be a lesson that we must never take things for granted.”
Meralco fell to 3-6 overall as it lost for the fourth straight time.
But Gregorio remains positive about his team’s campaign, notwithstanding the tough loss against the Kings.
“Battle scarred, battle teste. 13 years after, I can say that I’ve seen it all. Life goes on,” he said.