Almazan injury was turning point of PBA Finals, says coach Norman
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jan 17, 2020 11:34 PM
(Photos by Josh Albelda, Richard Esguerra)
Meralco just had no answer for Ginebra in the last three games of the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup Finals.
After a convincing victory in Game 2 that evened the race-to-four series at 1-all, the Bolts lost three in a row to the Gin Kings.
The crowd favorites, led by resident import Justin Brownlee and Finals MVP Japeth Aguilar, just ran roughshod over Meralco.
And unfortunately, it didn't help matters that the Bolts were far from full power.
"We lost our big men in the third game, first quarter and we never seemed to be the same team again," head coach Norman Black said. "I think, before Raymond got hurt, (the series) was tied at 1-1 and the first quarter (of Game 3) was a close quarter. We were competitive, but once he got hurt, everything changed."
Indeed, the two teams split the first two games of the series before Raymond Almazan injured his left knee halfway through the opening period of Game 3.
Almazan played through the pain in Game 4, but was, without a doubt, not 100 percent. "I'm not blaming it on Raymond not being there, but that was a big factor," coach Norman said.
He then continued, "Certainly, we faced a team that's quite big and quite talented and without Raymond in the middle, we suffered. A lot of credit should go to Ginebra - they took advantage of the situation."
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