COACH Norman Black was straight to the point. The 17-day break left Meralco rusty in its PBA Governors Cup game against TnT Katropa on Wednesday.
No ifs, no buts.
"Judging by the way we played, we didn't have the same fluidity we had in the past games," said the Meralco mentor following the Bolts' 113-107 loss to the Katropa at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
"We didn't have the same fire, the same execution we had before the long break."
The more than two-week hiatus obviously showed from the get-go as the Bolts trailed Katropa by as much as 56-35 in the second quarter.
Meralco did get its act in the second half and threatened at 78-76, but somehow couldn't get over the hump and suffered only their second loss in seven outings.
Black lamented that bad Meralco start.
"Horrible start. I thought we played bad the entire game," said the champion coach, whose team shot just 41 percent from the floor (38 of 92).
Although big man Cliff Hodge has finally returned to active duty after suffering a severed sprain ankle, Black didn't see any positive thing for the team against TnT other than import Allen Durham.
The reigning Best Import of the season-ending meet was his usual monster self with 39 points (13 of 26) and 24 rebounds.
"AD played well. He scored the ball well, he rebounded well, of course," said Black. "But other than that, I don't see any positives."
The Meralco coach isn' t about to make thr long off by the team as an excuse.
"Some other teams also had long breaks but come back and played well. So definitely, that's no excuse" said Black.
"We'll just have to find a way to improve as a team."