A lengthy 17-day break can be either helpful or detrimental — and for the Meralco Bolts, their lengthy layoff ended up being the latter.
Meralco head coach Norman Black said as much, after their side yielded their second defeat in the 2017 Governor’s Cup to sister team TNT Katropa, 113-107, Wednesday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“We were off for a long time and didn’t seem to have the same execution, the same fire that we had before the long break,” rued the PBA legend of the way Meralco played, where they crawled back from 21 points down in the first half only to fall short in the end.
“Horrible start. Bad start. Actually I thought we played bad the entire game.”
The Bolts were not the only team who had to overcome lengthy breaks in between games, as the league had had to revise the conference’s schedule to give way for squads whose players were on loan for Gilas Pilipinas’ FIBA Asia Cup campaign.
But Black does not want to use it as an excuse.
“Some other teams also had long breaks, then came back and played well so that’s really no excuse,” said the 59-year-old mentor, whose side dropped to 5-2 in the standings.
“So we just have to try to find a way to get it back.”
Wednesday night’s loss stalled Meralco’s trip to the playoffs.
They will have the chance to redeem themselves and qualify for the next round, although it will be difficult, as they face Star Hotshots, who are coming off a loss to the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last Sunday.
“We’ll just try to improve and just prepare for our game against Star,” Black pointed out.