While he wasn’t disappointed with the team’s effort clawing back from another double-digit deficit, Meralco coach Norman Black said the Bolts will have to find a way to help newly-minted Best Import Allen Durham on the offensive end.
The Bolts duplicated their comeback effort from Game 1 after chewing up Barangay Ginebra’s 15-point lead. But on Sunday, the Kings failed to put the body on Sol Mercado in the dying seconds, who went on to score the go-ahead basket as the league’s crowd favorite eked out a thrilling 82-79 win.
The Kings evened their PBA Governors Cup best-of-seven title series at 1-1.
“Not really (disappointed with the loss). We were down for most of the game. We were down by 15 at one point so I was actually quite happy that we were able to get back in the game considering we did go down,” Black said in the post-game talk with media.
“But we also have to help AD (Durham’s initials). If you look at what they’re doing defensively, they have Sol on him, they have two big guys standing behind him in Brownlee and Japeth, which means they’re not guarding people,” explained the one-time PBA Grand Slam champion coach.
The 58-year-old Black said it is imperative for the Bolts to find a way to get everyone else involved on offense to ease the load from the shoulders of Durham, who had seven turnovers in Game 2, while being limited to just 22 points as well.
Durham exploded for 46 points in Game 1, including seven in overtime.
“I thought they (Kings) did a good job on him (Durham) defensively tonight and forced him to take some tough shots because he had seven turnovers tonight, which is quite a bit considering he had zero the last game,” shared the Meralco mentor, whose team stole Game 1, 114-109 in overtime.
“We’ll make some adjustments as far as that is concerned. And Tim (Cone) showed us that defense already so we’ll go back to the drawing board and figure it out, and come up with something to combat it.”
Black also pointed out that Meralco will have to do a much better job in the rebounding department.
While Ginebra held a slim 49-45 edge in rebounds, the Kings enjoyed a sizeable 21-2 advantage in second chance points.
“It’s very difficult to win a game like this if you don’t rebound the basketball. And we got beat on the boards very badly in the first half, and we actually lost the game on an offensive rebound by Sol Mercado,” said Black.
“So that’s the no. 1 thing we have to address in practice. Certainly, we will not be doing any rebounding drills, but mentally, we just have to focus on the fact that we got killed on the boards tonight. At least, they got a lot of offensive rebounds and we paid the price for it.”
Game 3 is scheduled on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. – Jason Mercene
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