THE curse of the Ynares Center continues to haunt Ryan Gregorio and his Meralco Bolts.
The Bolts failed to sustain their game and yielded what was supposed to be a won match against defending champion San Mig Mixers, 71-76, on Friday night in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup encounter in Antipolo.
Meralco led three-fourths of the way but suffered a meltdown in the fourth that snapped its three-game winning streak.
As things stand now, the Bolts have yet to win an outing at the Antipolo playing venue since joining the league in 2010.
But Gregorio admitted the win just wasn’t meant to be.
The 41-year-old coach said the Bolts had every opportunity to regain control of the match, but Meralco just couldn’t connect on its shots down the stretch.
“We failed to make shots (in the fourth quarter). We had 28 more attempts, but in the end we just couldn’t buy a basket,” lamented Gregorio, whose team fell to a tie for fifth spot with San Mig at 4-4.
“We missed free throws and some wide-open looks from three. That’s basically the story of the game.”
Meralco lead playmaker Chris Ross finished with a triple-double of 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, but the 28-year-old guard was just 3-of-14 overall from the field. He also missed his last three shots in the final period, which could have changed the complexion of the game.
Ronjay Buenafe, hero in the Bolts 112-104 win over Barako Bull last Wednesday, took only five attempts and finished with two points, a far cry from his 19-point fourth quarter explosion against the Energy Cola.
“I thought we did a tremendous job on the defensive end, but the game is still won by the number of shots you make. I think we fell in love with the three,” explained Gregorio.
“We’re not really a high-volume three-point shooting team but somehow, that’s what was given to us. We had a good run in the first quarter, but just couldn’t sustain it. Thank God we’re done in this arena,” he added.