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    Black and Meralco spend four days preparing to defend Shabazz

    Mar 18, 2022
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    Shabazz Muhammad was held to 24 points by Meralco's defense.

    SHABAZZ Muhammad’s PBA stint was cut short on Wednesday when San Miguel got booted out in the Governors’ Cup. And in an ironic twist, Muhammad lost to the team he was supposed to play for this conference.

    Meralco handily beat the Beermen, 100-85, by holding Muhammad to 24 points on 8-of-19 from the field in what turned out to be a short conference debut in the PBA that failed to live up to expectations.

    In all, the former NBA player played in four games with the Beermen with his output against Meralco as the lowest.

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      Muhammad was initially the import of Meralco at the start of the Governors’ Cup, but the Bolts had to scamper for a replacement after the sweet-shooting import decided not to continue with his stint due to a 'family emergency.'

      Incidentally, it was Muhammad’s replacement who played well on Wednesday with Tony Bishop scoring 32 points and grabbing 16 rebounds.

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      Game plan vs Shabazz

      Meralco coach Norman Black said they prepared their defensive schemes after Muhammad lit up for 57 points in their previous match-up where the Bolts conceded a 26-point lead to drop a 113-110 decision.

      “We tried to slow down Shabazz and not allow them to get another 57 points on us. We were hoping to hold him down to 30. We thought that would be a good number. But we held him down to 24 so that’s even better,” said Black.

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      “Having the four days to practice gave us a lot of time to try different defenses during the week. And to be quite honest, mostly all of them worked tonight against him. Hats off to the players for not just learning what we are doing in practice but executing it today in the game. That was very, very important,” said Black.

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        Black paid tribute to Bishop for his effort.

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        “It’s a great team effort. Tony Bishop really played well tonight. He shot the basketball well from the perimeter. I think everybody did their job in contributing to this win," said the grand slam coach.

        "Obviously, some guys have bigger roles than others but it’s nice to be back in the semis again and it’s not everyday you beat a powerhouse San Miguel team."

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        Shabazz Muhammad was held to 24 points by Meralco's defense.
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