Norman Black commends Bolts as they 'stayed positive' despite semis deficit vs KaTropa

By Ivan Saldajeno

ANTIPOLO--When your team is facing elimination in a best-of-five playoff series like the PBA Governors' Cup semifinals, it is expected that the squad's morale is not as high as it was at the start of the series.

But Meralco coach Norman Black said on Monday night that his Meralco Bolts did not waver despite falling 1-2 down in the series against the TNT KaTropa.

And that resilience bore fruit as Meralco came back from the said deficit to deny TNT a trip to the championship round.

"I'd like to thank my players because when we were down two games to one, we had to win both [the last two] games to make it back to the finals. Everybody focused in and stayed positive," Black said after the Bolts clinched the series in the decider at the Ynares Center.

[Related Story: Meralco sets up PBA Governors' Cup finals date with Ginebra after ousting TNT]

In fact, the multi-titled mentor added that they still trusted his system even if their backs were against the wall.

"Everybody is very attentive to the game plan and how we need to execute for us to make it back to the championship round again," Black further said.

The turning point came in the second half, where they outscored the KaTropa, 52-36, to turn a 37-42 halftime deficit highlighted by only two made field goals in the entire second quarter to an 89-78 blowout.

"Just like what it has been in the entire conference, our defense held up for us. Talk 'n Text is a high-powered, high-scoring team, but defensively, we were able to slow them down and beat them tonight," Black added.

All in all, TNT only shot 34.4 percent from the field and 34.1 in the second half. Meralco, meanwhile, improved its scoring in the second half, making 53.1 percent of its baskets.