Meralco coach Norman Black rued his team’s lackadaisical performance in the third quarter that contributed to its 95-84 loss to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in Game 4 of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals Wednesday, April 13 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The game was even at 41-all when the Gin Kings broke loose in the third quarter which played a huge factor as the Bolts fell short of gaining a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“I thought we played poorly,” Black said after emerging from the locker room with his assistant coaches. “(We) got off to a decent start and the first half wasn’t that bad.
“I thought we were listless coming off the halftime break which is kinda strange because we’ve been playing well in the second halves the last few games. Even in the game we lost, we played well in the second half.
“Tonight, we didn’t play well coming out of the dugout, just seemed lacking in energy and they had enthusiasm and they outplayed us in the second half,” Black added.
Black was referring to the trend of the first three games, with Meralco coming out strong in the second half.
The Bolts used the third quarter to pull away in Game 1, almost completed a 20-point rally in the second half of their Game 2 defeat and dictated the tempo of the fourth quarter with their stingy defense in winning Game 4.
But this time, Meralco’s defending was not as crisp as in almost all of the previous contests.
“Our defense was poor tonight, particularly in the second half,” said Black. “We’re just always late recovering and rotating and they seemed to have open shots. Ginebra’s a good team when moving the basketball, and if you don’t have all your rotations especially in the end and somebody’s gonna be open for a shot. And they’re very comfortable shooting the last four or five seconds on the shot clock.
“We’ve done a pretty job defensively against them, but it was not a very good night for us defensively.”
With the series even going into the pivotal fifth game on Sunday, Black hopes that the long break will help the Bolts a great deal to get themselves back.
“There’s no excuse having no energy at this point,” said Black. “We’re trying to win a championship so your performance on the court, your production on the court will determine whether you win or not.
“Hopefully they’ll get their rest and we’ll be ready on Sunday.”