HAVING an off night when your opponent brings its A-game is always a recipe for disaster.
That’s what happened to Meralco on Friday night when it bowed to Alaska, 92-72, in Game Three of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series.
The Bolts picked the worst time to fire blanks as they also succumbed to the Aces’ unforgiving defense that limited them to an unacceptable 35-percent shooting (28-of-79) from the field and forced them to 21 turnovers.
The Bolts actually had a strong start and built a 10-point lead early in the second quarter, only to let the Aces go on a run to turn the game around.
“The first half was okay, we played pretty well and we played competitively, but the second half was horrible and lazy,” Bolts coach Norman Black said. “We didn't get back on defense, turned the ball too much.”
“If you're going to play basketball like that this late in the season, you don't deserve to win,” he added.
Bolts star playmaker Jimmy Alapag echoed his coach’s sentiment.
“You have to give credit to their defense, but at the same time, we just didn’t play well,” Alapag said. “At this point of the season, you can’t afford to come out and not be on top of your game, especially against a team like Alaska.”
“We didn’t take care of the ball and that’s what they thrive on,” he added. “We have to clean up going into Monday.”
Alapag was one of few Bolts who found their mark as he registered 12 points on four three-pointers on top of four assists and two boards in 30 minutes.
Still, that proved insufficient as the former Gilas Pilipinas captain saw the Bolts suffer their most lopsided defeat of the conference.
“You don’t really expect blowouts this time of the year, but you have to give them credit.,” Alapag said. “They played much, much better than we did and we’re going to have to find an answer to up our game.”
“We got two days to get our mind and body right and try to even things up on Monday,” he added.