LUCENA – Meralco coach Norman Black insisted his team wasn’t rusty in Game One of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals, saying it was the Bolts’ uncharacteristically poor – and excessive – outside shooting that did the Bolts in in their 102-87 loss.
Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said in the post-game interview that the Bolts looked a bit rusty coming off a four-game winning streak, including a three-game sweep of Star in their semifinal series.
“No, I don’t agree with him,” Black insisted. “We got outplayed tonight. It didn’t have to do anything with rust. I think we had three more days of rest than they had so I don’t see a big deal as far as that's concerned.”
“(But) hopefully we get on the bus as quickly as possible and get home immediately,” he added. “We'll get home at 3 in the morning and come back to practice in the afternoon.”
The Bolts were definitely off target from long range, hitting just eight of their 34 three-point attempts for a measly 24 percent after coming in averaging a tournament-best 37% from deep.
“We shot poorly from the perimeter today,” Black said. “Uncharacteristically, we took so many three-point shots. I think we took about 35 and we only average 21 a game.
“We give them credit for the defense at the same time it was bad shot selections on our part,” he added. “Going into Game Two, we have to make sure we get good looks with the basket.”
Black noted that the Gin Kings, in fact, give the Bolts some space for them to take wide-open triples, only for them to overcompensate.
“They’re sagging, but you don’t have to take three-point shots because they’re sagging,” Black said. “Ginebra continues to make the extra pass and get a little bit closer to the basket.”
“We can actually do the same thing,” he added. “We’ve been doing that the entire conference long I have no idea why we mixed (?) into shooting a lot of threes. I'll watch the tape and figure it out.”