Trillo says Meralco near-meltdown vs Ginebra 'unacceptable'

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Trillo says Meralco near-meltdown vs Ginebra 'unacceptable'
Meralco's Luigi Trillo
PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines -- Despite holding on against Barangay Ginebra in Game 3 of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Wednesday, the Meralco Bolts said that the team should not have allowed the Gin Kings to go within striking distance in the final minutes of the game.

With about five minutes remaining, the two teams subbed out their starters as the Bolts went up by 17 points, 83-66.

The Gin Kings, however, stormed back, cutting the deficit to just five, 80-85, with 25 seconds to go.

After a pair of free throws by Alvin Pasaol missed, LA Tenorio had the chance to further inch closer, but his 3-pointer missed as well.

The Bolts then held on and won, 87-80.

After the win, Meralco head coach Luigi Trillo said that should be “no letdown” in the coming contests.

“We know Ginebra is 'never say die'. That’s always their mantra, they did not give up so that’s good for them. On our side, what we did with that group was unacceptable. They have to be ready, they have to defend and they have to learn time management,” he told reporters after the game.

“We were shooting our shots that last four, five minutes with 15, 17 seconds [left in the shot clock]. Our players should not do that,” he added.

The coach stressed that the players should have been more in control down the stretch.

“They should know how to manage the time, proper spacing, our defense has to be sound. We’ll talk to them about that,” he said.

“We can’t have a letdown. We know they’re capable, Ginebra’s capable but we’re capable too. So we need to focus this next day, get to the video and continue to do it not one time but multiple times.”

Despite this, Trillo tipped his hat to the second unit that has been big in the series.

In their previous two games against the Gin Kings, both wins, the Bolts notched an average of 29 points off the bench – 27 in Game 2 and 31 in Game 3.

In the previous two wins of Meralco, no player recorded more than 37 minutes of playing time, and at least 12 players see the floor.

“Our bench is big. Everything is earned here in the semifinals. We know how tough it can be, all four teams are good,” the coach underscored.

“But, it’s important that our bench knows what we’re doing, gameplan wise, they have to do what they’re doing execution wise. Coach Nenad [Vucinic] always preaches that, we watch some video on it but today, I felt we were a little bit more sound in what we’re doing,” he added.

Maliksi also lauded the second group, saying that while they were able to start great as a team, the bench mob “continued” the stellar play.

Game 4 will be on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. 

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