MERALCO coach Norman Black is hoping the two-day break is enough for two of his top players to recuperate from minor injuries in time for Game Six of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals against Ginebra on Wednesday night.
While Jimmy Alapag has been having tightness on his hamstring since Game four, Bolts import Allen Durham is also nursing a leg injury that seemed to affect his performance in their 11-point Game Six loss last Sunday.
“We have a couple of players with injuries, so it probably has given us a little bit of rest,” Black said on the eve of the 7 p.m. setto at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“But I’m sure on the other side, it’s the same situation for them,” he added. “In our case, it gives AD a chance to rest for at least two days, so hopefully we can come back fresher in Game Six.”
Durham, who tallied 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting in 47 minutes in Game Five, and Alapag still took part in their practice on Wednesday afternoon where they fine-tuned some defensive sets.
While it gave them much-needed rest, the two-day break also had its downside, one, Cliff Hodge feels, was denying them a chance of a quick turnaround.
“It’s good to get rest, but coming off a loss in the finals, you really don’t want to rest,” the Bolts star forward said. “You just want to get back on the court as soon as possible.”
Hodge is eager to get his groove back. after averaging 19 points on 52.6-percent shooting in the semifinals, Hodge’s offense is down in the title series, norming just 8.4 points on a paltry 29.4-percent clip in the first five games, although his rebounds (from 5 to 6.4) and assists (from 1.8 to 2.4) are up.
“I’m just going to do whatever the team needs me to do and just read however they’re going to play me and just play off that,” Hodge said. “There’s nothing I’m going to do outside of what the team needs me to do.”
More than numbers, it’s the intangibles that are necessary to prevail and drag the series to a sudden death.
“It’s going to take the will and heart of everyone (to win),” Hodge said. “We need two games to win and if we want it, we got to take it.”
“As far as strategies are concerned, obviously we want to execute the best that we can but a lot of times these games come down on who wants it the most and the most energy,” the 11-time champion coach said.