NEGATING one of Rain or Shine’s strengths is never going to be enough.
Meralco coach Norman Black found that out as the Bolts lost to the Elasto Painters anew, 92-82, in Game Two of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series on Sunday night.
While the Bolts did limit the Elasto Painters’ transition game, they failed to figure out how to stop Rain or Shine’s three-point shooting that was on the mark all night.
“I thought we did a very good job of cutting off their fastbreaks and forcing them to play half court,” Black said as his team held their opponents to only nine transition points and six points off turnovers.
“But that was just tremendous shooting from the perimeter,” he was quick to add as the Elasto Painters connected on a league season-best 19 triples. “When a team shoots like that, it’s very difficult to beat them.”
Everything seemed to go in for the Elasto Painters as they shot 50 percent from three-point distance, a lot better than their conversions inside, where they just made 11 of 32 shots for 34 percent.
“It was an extraordinary (three-point) shooting, considering some of them came four to five feet beyond the three-point line, some of them off the backboard, some of them with just a second on the shot clock,” Black noted.
“We have to give where credit is due. They really shot the ball well,” he added.
The torrid display was none more evident in the third quarter, where the Elasto Painters buried 8 of their 11 three-point attempts in an 18-point turnaround that gave them the lead for good.
Worse, three Bolts stalwarts in Cliff Hodge, Reynel Hugnatan, and import Josh Davis went down, one by one, with injuries during that same stretch.
“That might have accelerated our downfall in the third quarter, where we lost three key players in a matter of minutes,” Black said.