Black growing concerned as Bolts limp to the playoffs

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“We just have to find a way to turn it around.” — Meralco head coach Norman Black as the Bolts find themselves struggling ahead of the PBA playoffs.

Literally a big part of Meralco’s success in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup is import Alex Stephenson.

So when the hulking reinforcement doesn’t play up to par, you can pretty much expect the Bolts to struggle a little bit.

Well, Stephenson didn’t play up to par Wednesday against Star and Meralco got completely shut down by the Hoshots.

Bothered by fouls and an apparent sickness, Stephenson only managed nine points for Meralco before fouling out in the fourth quarter of an 18-point defeat. It was a pretty awful game for the Bolts considering the solo top spot in the standings was at stake against Star.

“Very poor performance. We played very bad,” head coach Norman Black said as his team lost a second straight game and dropped to 7-3, a full game back from first place.

“Our import was missing in action today, didn’t really play well. In fairness to him, he has been sick for the last couple of days, he’s been pretty week [with] diarrhea. He’s been out physically,” Black said of Stephenson.

With one game left to play in their regular season schedule and already assured of a spot in the quarterfinals, Black is not to bothered with the fact that his team may just actually blew a shot at a twice-to-beat advantage.

What he’s more concerned about is that fact that the Bolts are limping their way to the playoffs.

“I am about performance in general. The fact that we played poorly and the fact that my import is non-existent tonight, that really concerns me moving forward,” the eight-time PBA champion coach said.

“whether we have twice-to-beat, whether it’s a best-of-three, we still have to play somebody in the quarterfinals. So we wanna go into the quarters playing good basketball, and in the last couple of games we played quite poorly.”

“We just have to find a way to turn it around,” Black added.

 

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