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October 14, 2017

Black admits Bolts didn't play smart in Game 1

LUCENA -- Don't tell coach Norman Black that rust played a factor in Meralco's Game 1 defeat to Ginebra in the 2017 PBA Governors' Cup Finals. He knows exactly where the downfall of his team roots from.

"We shot poorly from the perimeter today," he said, moments after the Bolts succumbed to the Gin Kings, 102-87, at Quezon Convention Center here.

It was an atrocious display of shooting unseen from Meralco all conference long, going 2-of-17 from threes in the first half that allowed Ginebra to take 40-23 head start midway in the second quarter.

The Bolts finished the game shooting 39-percent from the field, including 8-of-24 from beyond the arc.

But that's where Black's ire roots from, as he spoke against what he felt was an excessive amount of treys his team shot.

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"Uncharacteristically, we took so many three-point shots. We took about 34 and we only average 21 a game. We give them credit for the defense but at the same time, it was bad shot selections on our part," he said.

Meralco has been the best three-point shooting team in the league all conference long, collectively sniping 37-percent from rainbow country.

But that wouldn't stop the veteran mentor from chiding his wards for caving in to what the Ginebra defense wanted it to take, saying that the Bolts should be more discerning on what shots to take especially in high-stakes situations like this.

"The defense is sagging, but you don't have to take three-point shots because they're sagging. Ginebra continues to make the extra pass and get a little bit closer to the basket. We can actually do the same thing. We've been doing that the entire conference long and I have no idea why we mixed it up into shooting a lot of threes," he said.

Black stressed that if there's one thing Game 1 showed the Bolts, it's that they must be more cunning in their approach in the coming games.

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"Going into Game 2, we have to make sure that we get good looks with the basket," he said.

Game 2 is on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. (DL)