Hugnatan rues poor defense behind Meralco slump as breakout game goes for naught
Meralco fell to the bottom of the standings despite Reynel Hugnatan's stellar outing. Jaime Campos

REYNEL Hugnatan had his best game of the season but was left perplexed as his heroic effort wasn’t good enough to stop Meralco’s freefall in the PBA Philippine Cup standings after the Bolts suffered their fifth straight loss at the hands of Mahindra, 105-92, on Wednesday.

Not even Hugnatan's stellar 28-point, 6-rebound, and 3-assist output stopped the bleeding for the Bolts,replacing the Floodbuster at the bottom of the team standings with a 2-6 card. While there was no trace of frustration on his face as he emerged from the dugout, the veteran forward rued the team’s floundering defense behind their slide.

"Part of the game yun, yung natatalo. Ngayon kailangan namin mag-effort every game lalo on defense," said Hugnatan, who could not explain the reason behind Meralco’s lethargic showing compared to the team he sees at practice.

"Ewan ko, hindi ko masagot e. Lahat naman sa practice, nakikita ko na parang lahat nagwo-work hard. Pagdating sa game ewan ko ano nangyayari," he added.

[See Paniamogan, hot-shooting Mahindra take down Meralco]

Still, Hugnatan said the team is taking this loss in stride, as they remain hopeful they can turn things around and make the playoffs.

"I think we have a chance pa. Kaya di namin iniisip kung ano pa mangyayari, basta kami trabaho lang," he said. 

"Kailangan magutlungan kami sa loob kasi yun nga problema namin e, yung team defense," added Hugnatan. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros