Meralco head coach Norman Black could not help his disappointment in the Bolts’ guards after they were outplayed by their Barangay Ginebra San Miguel counterparts following their 95-110 loss to the Gin Kings, Sunday evening.
Expectations were high for Meralco’s guard play to sustain the momentum as they were impressive in their 101-92 victory over Columbian Dyip last Friday – their first win in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Baser Amer and Trevis Jackson shone brightly together in that win. They have apparently formed a new 1-2 punch for the Orangemen, as they finished with 21 and 17 points, respectively.
Even Chris Newsome made his presence felt versus the Dyip. He filled up the stat sheet with 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block in 37 minutes.
But that magic wasn’t present versus the Gin Kings two nights later.
Amer was the only guard – and the only local – to finish in double figures with 10 points. Newsome got held to just eight points, while Jackson only finished with three points on four shots.
The Barangay, meanwhile, were well-rounded as five players finished in twin digits, including Sol Mercado (14 points, eight rebounds, five assists) and Scottie Thompson (11-10-7).
“My guards really got outplayed,” Black said after the loss.
“They did a good job against Columbian last game, but tonight… We got outplayed by the guards of Ginebra in the second half.”
The Bolts were doomed in the second half. They once led by 15 and headed into the break up by 11, but Ginebra wiped it out with 12 straight to start the third for the lead.
“We played a good first half, came out flat in the second half. Ginebra played with a lot of intensity, a lot of passion in the second half. We couldn’t match their intensity and they took over the game.
“That’s basically it in a nutshell,” Black said.
The Bolts now carry a 1-2 record. The situation is unfamiliar, knowing that they usually do better in import-laden conferences. But Black isn’t that alarmed yet.
“It’s still early in the conference. We’ll see what happens.”