NORMAN Black admitted Meralco didn’t have the legs anymore to keep up with Rain or Shine in the pivotal fourth period, leading to the Elasto Painters’ 99-86 win in the opener of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series on Tuesday night.
The Elasto Painters outgunned the weary Bolts in fastbreak points, 26-2, while gaining a sizeable 22-9 edge in points off turnovers.
“They (Elasto Painters) showed a lot of energy in the fourth quarter and we committed a lot of turnovers which gave them so many fastbreak points,” rued Black after the Game One loss.
The match-up with Rain or Shine came barely 48 hours after Meralco edged out NLEX in overtime, 91-85, for a two-game sweep of their quarterfinals series.
Black said the Bolts need some rest and will have a break on Wednesday, before returning to practice on Thursday as they come up with key adjustments for Sunday’s Game Two.
“I think the no. 1 thing is get some rest because we just came from a tough series against NLEX. So we get the guys to rest a little bit and be refreshed,” he said.
Black felt the defensive identity the Bolts have established throughout the conference was missing in Game One, which enabled the Elasto Painters to outscore them in the fourth quarter, 25-15.
“Getting back on defense has been the strength of the team in the entire conference, but we didn’t do that tonight,” he added.
Import Josh Davis, who averaged 20.5 points and 21.5 rebounds against the Road Warriors in the quarterfinals, was held down to just 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the floor.
The former San Diego State stalwart credited Rain or Shine’s solid team defense, which prevented him from doing the usual damage inside.
“It was more of just a lot of help (defense by Rain or Shine). They did a great job defending me because it wasn’t just one guy, but two or three guys defending me,” he said.