The Meralco Bolts are in a dangerous but familiar position yet again.
The Orangemen’s backs are now against the wall in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals following their heartbreaking 102-104 loss to the Mike Harris-powered Alaska Aces in Game Three, Thursday night at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Harris took over late for the Aces, scoring his team’s last nine points – a stretch highlighted by two three-point plays and a split at the stripe with 9.6 left to play, after he was fouled inside as he grabbed his own miss.
“It’s a tough loss because it was a well-played game, but at the same time, it is a loss, so we have to do something about our rebounding next game. We have to be better,” lamented Bolts head coach Norman Black after the sorry loss.
The Bolts are now down 1-2 in the best-of-five series. Any misstep in Game Four on Saturday will spell the end of their emotionally-charged run.
Meralco have one of the best stories in this conference because of the way they were able to turn things around. They looked primed for an early exit with a 1-6 record, but they swept their last four games in the elims to stay alive.
Lady Luck then sided the Manny V. Pangilinan-owned franchise, as they made it to the quarters as the seventh seed. And even if they were at a twice-to-beat disadvantage versus the Phoenix Fuel Masters, they overcame the odds to make it to the semis.
They even won their series opener versus the Aces to extend their winning streak to seven games.
The Bolts have proven – at least in this conference – that they can still work things out amid the adversities. And now that they face yet another do-or-die game on Saturday, Black is curious how his wards will respond to the challenge.
“It’s do-or-die so we’ll just go out and play our best and hopefully win the game. I don’t think anybody’s going into tonight thinking we need a do-or-die game to play well,” the decorated tactician shared.
“Backs up against the wall again, we’ll see how we respond to it.”