PBA: Meralco in ‘familiar’ must-win situation

Mark Escarlote on Nov 15, 2018 11:32 PM
PBA: Meralco in ‘familiar’ must-win situation
Back's up against the wall again, we'll see how we respond to it -- Norman Black

It’s an all too familiar situation for Meralco.

The Bolts will be marching into battle with their backs against the wall on Saturday, hoping that the odds will be on their side to survive Game 4 of the best-of-five 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals series against Alaska.

Meralco found itself back in must-win situation after absorbing a 102-104 setback, Thursday night at the Cuneta Astrodome that wrested the control of the series to Alaska, 2-1.

“Back's up against the wall again, we'll see how we respond to it,” said Bolts head coach Norman Black.

Meralco wasted an 11-point lead in the third quarter and had some stinging misses at point-blank range in the closing seconds of the duel to suffer its second straight defeat after an amazing seven-game winning run.  

After Mike Harris split his charities that gave Alaska a precarious, 104-102, cushion, Allen Durham had a chance to tie the game for Meralco but missed on his hard drive. Then Reynel Hugnatan, who came out firing from the rainbow arc in the final minutes of the match, missed a tip before Anjo Caram heaved a wayward shot at the buzzer as Alaska escaped with the crucial win. 

It's a well-played game by both teams. We certainly had our chances to win, just couldn't get a rebound down the stretch. I think that's a major difference,” said Black. “We shot the ball pretty well throughout the entire game but when it came to being able to clean up our defensive stops, we weren't able to do it.”

“They dominated the boards tonight, particularly Mike Harris. He came up with some crucial rebounds down the stretch,” he added. “It's a tough loss because it was a well-played game but at the same time, it is a loss so we have to do something about our rebounding next game. We have to be better.”

Now, Black could just hope that the Bolts will unearth the same fire that fueled them to winning six straight must-win games to advance in the semifinals including a sweep of twice-to-beat Phoenix in the quarterfinals.  

“It's do-or-die so we'll just go out and play our best and hopefully win the game,” said Black. “I don't think anybody's going into tonight thinking we need a do-or-die game to play well. I think we're just in that situation right now because Alaska outplayed us tonight and they won the game.”



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