Norman Black rues porous Meralco defense, mum on crucial non-call in final play
Norman Black confronts the referee after a non-call on a Reynel Hugnatan drive late in Meralco's loss to Barako Bull. Jerome Ascano

THE losses keep piling up for Meralco and one need not to be a rocket scientist to know the reason for the team’s slow start in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup.

“Defense,” was coach Norman Black’s curt reply when asked what he thought is lacking in the Bolts four games into their campaign in the season-opening conference.

“It shows in the stats. We’re giving up too many points, teams are shooting at a high percentage against us. Our interior defense, our perimeter defense are lacking right now.”

The Bolts dropped a 108-106 loss to Barako Bull on Sunday as they remain winless in four outings.

Four Energy finished in double figures led by the 24 points of Josh Urbiztondo, capping the team’s 49 percent shooting from the floor, including 10-of-26 from three-point range.

Black is aware the team is down right now especially with the Bolts still to make it through the win column.

“I’m sure the team is very frustrated with losing, nobody likes to lose,” said the multi-titled mentor. “The longer it takes you to win, the harder it is to win.”

There’s one ray of hope which Black sees for his team.

“Offensively, we did a much better job of moving the basketball tonight. Everybody was trying to set up the hot man, who was Gary David,” he said, obviously referring to the deadly-shooting wingman, who finished with a conference-high 40 points.

But then again, it all boiled down to defense.

“Even if you can score points, but if you can’t defend, then it really doesn’t mean much,” said Black, who refused to talk about the incident where he angrily confronted the referee shortly after the game for what he deemed should have been a foul committed against Reynel Hugnatan.

“Up to the end, we can’t defend the post and we can’t defend their outside shots. They’re hitting the threes all over.”

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