When the Meralco Bolts lost their fifth straight game in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup – which sent them to the brink of an early exit – Chris Newsome remained unfazed, saying that brighter days are still ahead for them.
“It seems such a hard hill to climb now but you know in our locker room, everybody’s positive, trying to keep their heads up. Of course, we’re looking forward to brighter days,” said the third-year guard last October 7.
Well, it looks like those days have arrived.
From being in such a precarious spot, the Orangeman are now just one win away from the semifinals, as they defeated twice-to-beat owners Phoenix Fuel Masters, 90-74, Wednesday evening at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
“It feels good to finally be in an even playing field. We had to bust our butts to get here. Every game’s been a do-or-die game for us, we kinda just understand we have to bring it every single game,” said Newsome, who fired 16 points.
“That’s definitely what we were waiting for. We understood that it was gonna come, it was just a matter of time. Persistence, that’s one thing that this team knows very well. It’s just to be persistent regardless of any adversity.”
With their conquest of the Fuel Masters, the Bolts are now in the midst of a five-game winning streak dating back from the eliminations. And for the Ateneo Blue Eagles product, what has been bringing wonders to their run is their defense.
That was the case in their recent victory, as they limited Phoenix to just 74 points – a huge drop from the 106.1 points the Fuel Masters had averaged in the eliminations.
“I think that’s what’s getting us our wins,” he said. “We’re not really enjoying too much offensively but as long as we get stops that’s all what we really care about. If we don’t get it flowing on offense our defense has to remain constant.”
And defense will still be the key for Meralco on Friday, when they look to finish off Phoenix to go to the semis.
“As long as we remain persistent, as long as we’re smart with our playing and keep our defense constant, we’re gonna always compete. Now we get one game to try to get into the semifinals,” said the Filipino-American swingman.
“So everything that happened beforehand, all the things that happened in the beginning of the season, we can kinda set that aside, but we definitely wanna learn from it and bring it to the game on Friday.”
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