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    Black in no mood to celebrate after dragging Phoenix to a decider

    Nov 8, 2018
    PHOTO: jerome ascaño

    MERALCO coach Norman Black knows to well that Wednesday’s win over Phoenix is nothing even as the Bolts were able to force a rubber match for a semifinal berth against the Fuel Masters.

    The seventh-seed Bolts extended their winning streak to five games on Wednesday after beating the Fuel Masters, 90-74, sending their series to a deciding match on Friday.

    Black said the job isn’t finished for Meralco as the second-seeded Phoenix also has another game to play for a semifinal berth, an incentive the Fuel Masters earned for finishing second at the end of the elimination round.

    “It’s just one game and we need two,” said Black. “They (Phoenix) fought very hard to get that twice-to-beat and this is the reason why. We still have to go out and win one more game to make it to the semifinals.”

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    Black said the win is no cause for celebration for the Bolts as they are still facing another do-or-die match against the Fuel Masters on Friday.

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    “I’ve been on the other side. I’ve had the twice-to-beat advantage, I lost the first game and I had to come back and win the second game. They are on the other side. That’s why they had the twice-to-beat advantage because of this situation here.

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    “We have to win another game. In our case, this is our fifth straight win which was basically a knockout game. Now, we have to play another game, a sixth knockout game in order to advance into the semifinals,” said Black.

    Black said defense got Meralco into its situation of moving a win away from a semifinal berth, and it is that same mentality that will help them for the knockout match.

    “If you study the stats, they are a much better offensive team than we are. They average about 106, 107 points per game. We are next to last, if not, the last on offense. Defensively, we are quite close. We are number two in the league, they are number three. They play both ends of the court.

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    “What we need to do is to make sure that we defend them. If we can bring them down to the 90s, we have a chance of beating them. If the score gets up to a hundred, it’s more difficult for us to beat them. “Our focus has been what it’s been the entire conference, which is our defense,” said Black.

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    PHOTO: jerome ascaño
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