BOCAUE – Meralco coach Norman Black refused to blame his team’s unfamiliarity with the Philippine Arena as a factor in their 85-74 loss to Ginebra in Game Five of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals on Sunday night.
While it was the third time the Gin Kings played in the 55,000-seat venue, the Bolts set foot on the state-of-the-art facility for the first time and ended up being left in a do-or-die situation in Game Six.
Ginebra, on the other hand, is now 3-0 in the venue after winning last Christmas Day against Star and against TNT in the 2014 season opener.
“Ginebra has played here before so they know pretty much what it feels like to play here in Philippine Arena,” Black said. “We never played here before so it’s new for us, but that’s no excuse.”
“We’re professionals and we’re assigned to play in this gym so we just got to be our best,” he added.
Whether the unfamiliarity was a factor or not, the Bolts’ starting backcourt of Chris Newsome and Baser Amer blew cold again as they failed to sustain the gains of solid showing in Game Four.
Newsome was in foul trouble all-night long and was held to just five points on four attempts before fouling out in the fourth quarter after only 13 minutes of play, while Amer contributed just four points on 1-of-5 shooting in almost 33 minutes on the court.
Garvo Lanete and Anjo Caram picked up the slack, but still to no avail.
“When we get contributions from the bench it definitely helps us a lot, but I wish we have gotten more from our starting backcourt today,” Black said.
“Chris Newsome was in foul trouble right from the beginning of the game, which hurt us an awful lot because he’s been a key player for us this year. Baser has been struggling with LA. He’s been struggling the entire series. So it really helps us for Anjo and Lanete to come off the bench to contribute and help us.”
“I hope they can do it again on Wednesday but I hope we also can get better contributions from Baser and Chris Newsome. And I hope we can stay out of foul trouble,” he added.