MERALCO coach Norman Black felt his team came in blind on Wednesday night as the Bolts faced a new-look GlobalPort side in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup matchup.
After all, the Batang Pier fielded a new import in Justin Harper as well as trade acquisitions Sean Anthony, Brad Guinto, and Jonathan Grey, who all delivered in their own right in the 94-86 win over the Bolts.
“They were a little bit of a mystery because we didn’t know the import,” Black admitted. “As it turns out he’s a pretty good player, he can score the basketball.”
“We didn’t really know how to fit their new players in,” he added. “I give them credit; they played hard, they played well, they rebounded the ball well tonight, something we didn’t.”
While Globalport’s new faces made a solid first impression, Black failed to use his as Garvo Lanete was out with a strained calf.
“He’s expected to play in three days, so by the time we play again, two weeks from now he’ll be ready to play,” Black said of the former NLEX wingman, who they acquired in four-team, multiplayer trade that forced them to give up rookie Jonathan Grey.
“We picked him (Lanete) up because obviously Chris Newsome, Ed Daquioag and Grey they all play the same position, similar types of players that they’re slashers and not shooters,” Black said.
“So we wanted to try a little bit of balance to the team especially we’re one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league especially when we lost Jimmy Alapag.”
Bolts import Alex Stepeheson hauled down 27 of the Bolts’ 53 rebounds, just one less than the Batang Pier collared.
“We didn’t rebound the ball well, except for Alex, so I told the team we deserved to be beaten, get outplayed,” Black said of his tournament-leading team.
“It’s a bad feeling to lose especially since Global is one of the lower teams and we’re trying to get the twice-to-beat and that kinda puts a damper on our ability to do that, especially we have two really tough teams coming up in Star and Ginebra,” he added.