AFTER putting on a shooting clinic through three quarters in his PBA debut, Air21'S new import Wesley Witherspoon failed to get the support he needed in the fourth period as the Express blew an 18-point lead on the way to a 98-109 loss to the Meralco Bolts on Sunday.
Witherspoon torched the Bolts with 39 points on seven three-point shots through the first 36 minutes of action. He finished with eight treys - the most in a league game since Nino Canaleta buried nine triples in the Express’ 95-91 win over Petron in last season’s Commissioner’s Cup.
But with the Bolts tightening their defense on him in the fourth period, the 6-8 former Memphis Tiger forward could only score five points the rest of the way.
Worse, the Express fell into a maze of turnovers in the last seven minutes of the game, allowing the Bolts to climb back from a huge hole and pull off one of the biggest comebacks of the season.
“It’s (the loss) tough. We just didn’t finish like we should have,” lamented Witherspoon, who only had two practice sessions with Air21 since replacing Ivorian center Herve Lamizana.
The 24-year-old NBA D-League veteran blamed the Express’ failure to execute for the team’s fourth-quarter meltdown.
“It starts with us. We just didn’t execute like we’re supposed to. We didn’t get stops. We didn’t score the ball well and we had a lot of empty possessions at the end of the game,” said Witherspoon. “We can’t do that.”
The loss sent the Express down to 2-3, in a tie with defending champion Alaska Aces in the bottom half of the standings.