TNT head Jong Uichico rued his team didn’t play with a sense of urgency as his wards played uncharacteristic basketball en route to a 106-91 beating at the hands of sister team Meralco in Game 2 of their semis series on Thursday.
After playing like a well-oiled machine for a big part of the conference, TNT suddenly found itself hitting a brick wall as Meralco tied their Governors Cup series at 1-1.
The Katropa trailed from start to finish with the Bolts erecting their biggest lead at 24 points midway in the third canto.
“We started flat and we knew naman that Meralco will come out with a lot of energy, We didn’t come out with a lot of energy. Shouldn’t have played catch-up the whole game,” said Uichico, who had a longer discussion with his staff after the game.
Against a more focused Meralco led by hulking import Allen Durham, TNT’s best effort was to threaten at 84-98 with about 4 minutes left in the game, before Jimmy Alapag put the game away with his booming triples from there.
Interestingly, top TNT comb guard Jayson Castro, who had 24 points in the first three quarters, wasn’t fielded in since being subbed out with still over 5 minutes to go in the third canto.
Uichico simply said it was already too late for his best guard to save the day.
“That’s (Castro’s benching) coaches’ decision because the (lead) is already too big. If we have cut the lead down a little earlier, then I could have brought him back,” explained the multi-titled coach.
Come Game 3, though, Uichico expects to see resiliency from his team after that reality check from Meralco.
“We really (need to) play some defense, match (their) energy, match (their) intensity,”
“You can’t say that, just because our record in the eliminations was a very good record, which we will take anytime, it doesn’t mean that we can just show up and win any game,” he said. – Jason Mercene
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