By Waylon Galvez
In a coaching career that has spanned four decades, Norman Black has had his fair share of frustrating defeats, especially in the championship stage.
The latest loss to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel counts as one of his toughest beatings.
Meralco suffered a 94-72 defeat to Ginebra in their PBA Governors’ Cup finals showdown to drop to 3-1 in the best-of-seven title series Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
For the veteran mentor, he was more disappointed with the effort his Bolts gave than Ginebra’s winning margin.
“With the effort we displayed tonight, we didn’t deserve to win this game,” said Black, who owns a total of 11 championships but is still looking for his first with the Bolts franchise after falling twice to the Kings.
“Ginebra outhustled us, outplayed us and we were embarrassed. For me it’s an embarrassment to the PBA the way we came out… we didn’t give a better fight. This hustle stats, told the entire story.”
One of the things that Black referred to as ‘hustle stats’ was the effort given by his players, particularly in battling for the 50/50 balls or loose balls as the Bolts got 14 to the Kings’ 24.
Also, Meralco shot just 37.2 percent (32-of-86), including 11.5 percent from the three-point area (3-of-26) as compared to Ginebra’s 46.9 percent (38-of-81) – 31 percent (9-of-29) from the trifecta.
Allen Durham, who bagged his third Best Import award, shot 2-of-6 treys, while rookie Bong Quinto was the only the other Meralco player with a triple as he made 1-of-3.
However, the others went cold again.
Guards Baser Amer and Chris Newsome and forward Allein Maliksi all went 0-of-4 from the rainbow arc.
Black said that the only way for them to get back in Game 5 set Friday is to play with the kind of effort of a professional team.
“We just have to do a better job to represent the company, to represent the league,” said Black. “We couldn’t get back at defense, we couldn’t stop them at half court they pretty much do what ever they wanted to do.”
“As a basketball coach I was a little embarrassed by it – to be honest. I just told my players, we only have two choices at this point – we pull together and comeback and fight on Friday, or maybe do the same.”
“We just have to bounce back from this and come up and play better basketball, because for me this is an embarrassment,” said Black, whose Meralco now plays a ‘must win’ to capture the title.