This makes three times now the Meralco Bolts just couldn’t make it past rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the playoffs.
The Bolts bowed out of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday evening after losing to the streaking Gin Kings, 90-104, in Game Two of their best-of-three series at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The 2018 edition of the mid-season joust marks the third straight conference that the Orangemen have lost to the crowd darlings in the playoffs. Their first two defeats came in the 2016 and 2017 Governor’s Cup Finals.
Chris Newsome has been with Bolts in all of the team’s struggles versus the Gin Kings. Asked what had gone wrong in their recent series with Ginebra, Newsome lamented their failure to convert their outside shots.
“Whenever you look at the lineups itself on paper, we’re definitely the smaller team. They got a lot of bigger guys, and with that lineup you can do a lot with it… When you look at that, that’s just something tough.
“And when it comes down to it, you gotta hit your outside shots if they’re gonna dominate the paint. And that’s something that we didn’t do too well in this series,” explained the third-year combo guard moments after the match.
As per the stats, Newsome was accurate. Across games One and Two, the Bolts only hit 17 of the 54 shots they launched from beyond the arc. The only thing that worked for them was their inside scoring (51.0 percent).
With another heartbreak at the hands of their tormentors, Newsome couldn’t help but recall their last two Finals losses, as the problem that has hounded them this time was also the problem that hurt their chances before.
“Going back to the Finals series in Game 7, we didn’t really hit shots in that game either. And going back to the Finals the year before that, we didn’t hit shots either. Whenever you got a big squad like that, your counter’s gonna be outside.
“I feel like that will be the best way to beat them: hit shots and force the bigs to come out and play the guards’ game, basically. Because if you try to play their game, it’s gonna be tough,” ended the 27-year-old Fil-American.