MERALCO coach Norman Black played down his team’s 86-85 loss to a shorthanded GlobalPort in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday night, stressing it hardly is an indication of the Bolts’ status in the midseason tournament.
Expected to be title contenders with Best Import Arinze Onuaku back in tow, the Bolts lost to a postseason-aspiring Batang Pier side that was missing suspended Mo Tautuaa.
Asked if there’s any concern, Black pointed out that his team is also missing key players due to injuries.
“We’re missing Ranidel de Ocampo. Nobody’s feeling sorry for me,” Black said after the game. “I’m missing Garvo Lanete. It’s part of the game. I’m also missing key players.”
Black, though, bared RDO and Lanete will be back “within the next two weeks.”
But against the Batang Pier, Black missed the presence of both his outside snipers as their other shooter, Jared Dillinger, missed all his eight shots, including six from three-point range, in 25 minutes as a starter.
Black gave Dillinger a chance to atone for his early misses, drawing up a play for the lefty wingman down the stretch, only for the latter to botch the play after taking a hurried triple.
“It’s a poor attempt and he could’ve gotten a much better shot than that down the stretch,” Black said. “He did not play well in the game, so maybe I thought that was his opportunity to win the game, but it ended up being a poor attempt.”
“I thought (it) was the difference of the game, but we just have to continue to work hard, try to bounce back,” he added.