TNT defense so focused on Paul Lee that it overlooked Barroca, Melton, admits Racela
Nash Racela feels TNT ignored Magnolia guards Mark Barroca and Justin Melton. Clems Dela Cruz

TNT coach Nash Racela admitted the Texters focused so much on Paul Lee that they somehow forgot about rest of Magnolia’s key playmakers in their 91-83 loss to the Hotshots in the PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday night.

The Texters did a solid defensive job on Lee, who was held to just five points after missing all but one of his six shots, committing two turnovers in 18 minutes before leaving the game with a sprained ankle in the third quarter.  

After Lee left, that’s only the time when the Texters shifted their attention to the Hotshots’ other backcourt standouts, only to find out it was too late as Mark Barroca and Justin Melton ran rings around their defense.

“I felt we prepared well, we really executed well against Paul Lee, but we failed against Barroca and Melton,” Racela said. “The lesson is to better prepare ourselves against everyone.”

Barroca registered 20 points on 50-percent shooting, while Melton added 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, with both cat-quick plyamakers coming off the bench.

“We lost against Barroca and Melton today,” Racela said.

More important than their offensive production was standing at the forefront of the Hotshots’ full-court defense along with Jio Jalalon.

“They were able to force some turnovers because of their kind of defense,” Racela said as his team fell to an even 3-3 record. “Siguro sa end namin, we just have to be able to adjust and be better prepared against their pressure defense and physicality.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos