Foul trouble, slow start bury Meralco to 2-3 series deficit
Mark Escarlote on Oct 22, 2017 10:30 PM
I thought Ginebra was well prepared to play tonight. They came out very aggressively right from the start of the game -- Meralco coach Norman Black
Barangay Ginebra just wanted it more.
Meralco head coach Norman Black admitted that the Gin Kings jumped on the Bolts right from the get-go and they were slow to react in the crucial Game 5 of the PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-seven series Sunday night at the Philippine Arena.
The Bolts had their backs against the wall as Ginebra reclaimed the series lead, 3-2, with an 85-74 win witnessed by a huge 36,445 crowd.
Ginebra built an early 33-15 lead, Meralco fought back in the third but the Gin Kings dropped another huge rally in the fourth to finish off the Bolts.
“I thought Ginebra was well prepared to play tonight. They came out very aggressively right from the start of the game,” said Black, whose wards faced the same situation in last year’s edition of the conference against the same rival.
The Gin Kings started 7-foot behemoth Greg Slaughter and were more aggressive on defense specifically on the back court with Scottie Thompson and LA Tenorio giving Bolts guards Baser Amer and Chris Newsome a hard time setting up their plays.
The scrappy defense of Ginebra forced Meralco to commit 20 turnovers that the Gin Kings converted to 23 turnover points.
“They started out Greg Slaughter so they are a lot bigger in their lineup tonight and I didn’t think that we reacted very well to it,” said Black.
“Scottie and LA were pressing us in the first quarter defensively. I thought it took us out of our offense and we didn’t respond to it.”
But the biggest factor that killed Meralco was the fact that they got into foul trouble early. The Bolts were whistled with 29 fouls with Newsome and Jared Dillinger drawing most of the calls.
Last year’s Rookie of the Year Newsome spent most of the match at the bench and fouled out with just three minutes left in the game. He only had five points on a 2-of-4 shooting with two assists, a rebound and two turnovers.
The Bolts after struggling in the first 24 minutes of the game were able to take a 60-58 lead late in the third but Ginebra behind Justin Brownlee, Tenorio, Slaughter and Joe Devance powered the Gin Kings to an 81-70 lead with just four minutes in the game to dictate the outcome.
“After a while we got our bearings but every time that we were able to get out bearings, we ended up getting in foul trouble,” said Black. “We had to take key players off the court because of fouls and they will pull away. We had to work so hard to keep getting back in the game and they will pull away again.”
Game 6 is on Wednesday in the same venue.
“So we just have to be more aggressive again in the next game,” Black said. “We cannot let them hit us first, like they did tonight. They got us back on our heels and we didn’t respond very well.”
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