TWO games into the PBA Governors Cup and how Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio wished the team has veteran guard Mike Cortez quarterbacking for the team.
Gregorio said without the veteran presence of the injured Cortez, the Bolts don’t have a stabilizer on the court, a major reason why the team has opened the season-ending conference with two straight losses, including a 105-99 setback at the hands of sister team Talk N Text on Wednesday night.
“We’ve been missing guys like Mike Cortez, who can put a little more control in the game,” rued Gregorio after the Bolts let a five-point lead slip away inside the final two minutes.
“We had a 97-92 lead with a little over two minutes left, then we didn’t make good decisions. In the end, Jason Castro just took over, and before we realized it, we were already down three points,” he added.
Cortez has yet to play for the team this year since going down with a torn meniscus on his right knee.
Without the 6-foot guard out of La Salle, the Bolts had to rely on Fil-Am forward Jared Dillinger as their point guard, with Chris Timberlake and Anjo Caram coming off the bench.
Import Terrence Williams, a noted shooter during his brief NBA stint, also took the role of playmaking, finishing with eight assists to go along with 20 points and 14 rebounds in a near triple-double output.
“(Terrence played a) very controlled game. I think it’s (import’s game on Sunday) a far cry from his first outing,” noted Gregorio.
“Unfortunately, for the other (Meralco) players, they failed to finish his (Williams) nice passes. He could have finished with a triple-double.”
The Bolts will try to avoid going down to an 0-3 hole when they go up against the Barangay Ginebra Kings on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ginebra opened the season-ending meet with an 89-71 whipping of Globalport to give Jeffrey Cariaso a rousing coaching debut.