NORMAN Black doesn’t believe fatigue factor is an excuse in Meralco’s stunning 92-91 loss to Blackwater at the start of the PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Bolts struggled majority of the way against the Elite in a game played less than two days after they pulled off a 104-101 comeback win over fancied San Miguel Beer to claim the No. 1 seed heading into the playoffs.
But complaining about being tired should be the least of the Bolts' concerns at the moment, according to Black.
“At this point of the conference, you have no right to be tired. Everybody is trying to fight for survival and stay alive,” said the veteran mentor.
“If you want to play another day, then you’ve got to get over the tiredness very quickly and go out and play.”
The Bolts, who trailed by as large as 29-19, appeared ready to end Blackwater’s season when import Allen Durham scored on a putback with 15.8 seconds left to put the team ahead, 91-90.
Allein Maliksi though, answered with a crucial medium range jumper to give the lead back to the eight-seeded Elite, 92-91, before Mike Tolomia missed on a potential game-winning basket at the buzzer.
“It was a pretty good defense. And we were right there in front of him, he just made a tough shot,” said Black of Maliksi’s go-ahead basket.
Despite what Black said was ‘a disappointing loss,’ Meralco still has one good shot at making the semifinals on Thursday when it takes on Blackwater anew in a sudden-death game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We have a twice-to-beat advantage, and we’ll try to take advantage of it,” he said of the Bolts’ incentive for finishing the eliminations as the top seeded team.