RYAN Gregorio remains very upbeat with Meralco’s campaign in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, never mind even if the team suffered its third straight loss Wednesday night against Petron.
Still in transition after a busy season break that saw the Bolts among the most active teams in the trade market, Gregorio said he felt Meralco is doing well early in the tournament as it managed to fight toe-to-toe opposite some of the league’s elite squads.
It was exactly the case against the Boosters at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, one which saw the Bolts rallied from as much as a 22-point deficit before falling short in an 86-88 loss.
“Things are working well for us, so we are not yet pressing the panic button right now,” Gregorio told Spin.ph.
“It’s still a long conference since we play 14 games. I see a lot of improvement in the team. In fact, we’ve been fighting the elite teams toe-to-toe in our past games. We fought hard against Alaska.
“Then we were in the game till the last three minutes against Rain or Shine. And now, we were down big against Petron, but we just refused to roll over and die,” he added.
The Bolts trailed 54-76, entering the final period, but Chris Ross, elevated as the starting point guard with the departure of Sol Mercado, rallied the team back by scoring 11 of his total 12 points in the final 12 minutes.
“He (Ross) heard a mouthful from me especially when we were down big. I thought we didn’t have a leader inside the court. So when we elevated him at the starting point guard role, I really wanted him not just to be our point guard but to be the leader also inside the court,” explained the young-looking coach.
Following the loss, Meralco fell to 1-3 overall, its lone win coming against Talk `N Text during its conference debut, 99-92.
The Bolts will have the Globalport Batang Pier for their next opponent Sunday, marking the first time Mercado will be facing his former team since being traded late last month.