NORMAN Black himself is setting off the alarm in Meralco’s campaign in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The Bolts mentor raises his apprehension about the current skid of the team following a third straight loss at the hands of defending champion San Miguel just before the New Year break, 101-86.
The setback dropped the team to solo 10th place with a 2-4 record and out of the magic circle of eight that will advance to the playoffs.
“There is a sense of urgency, yes, because you don’t want to get eliminated,” admitted Black. “You have to expect better performances from everybody to be able to win some games. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in the bottom four.”
For a while, everything seemed to be rosy for Bolts.
Coming off a first ever franchise finals appearance in the last Governors Cup, Meralco won two of its first three outings in the all-Filipino conference, quickly surpassing its pathetic record in the same tournament last season when it bombed out of the eliminations with a 1-10 mark.
It was actually on its way of clinching a third straight win against Alaska after leading by as many as nine points in the final two minutes of their game until the Bolts suffered a major endgame collapse and allowed the Aces to escaped with an 81-79 comeback win.
It was downhill for the Bolts from there.
They also failed to protect a 10-point fourth quarter lead against Phoenix to lose, 94-90, and then saw themselves buried by as much as a 31-point deficit against the Beermen from which they never recovered.
At the moment, Black is clueless on what went wrong with the team, although he mentioned turnovers as the Bolts weakness this conference.
“You have to go back to the process and work hard, that’s all you can do now,” the grand slam coach pointed out. “Try to improve your weaknesses and take a look at the tapes and see what went wrong and try to fix it.”
Meralco’s schedule in the second half of the eliminations is grueling as it is set to meet four teams in the upper bracket of the team standings out of its next five matches, starting with Globalport when the league resumes action on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
But Black maintains his faith with the Bolts no matter how stacked the odds are against them.
“We just have to be better, do better, and get better,” he stressed.