Undermanned Bolts played with ‘big heart’ to break through vs Hotshots
MANILA, Philippines — The Meralco Bolts had to dig deep in Game Three of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series against the Magnolia Hotshots to take a breakthrough win.
Struggling with an injury bug that sidelined big man Raymond Almazan, the Bolts needed to rely on more players to step up.
Luckily for head coach Norman Black, his wards were able to respond well and played bigger than what was expected.
"I think we just played a big heart, we're struggling a little bit because of lack of man power, we've lost a lot of players this… But we just looked at this game as a do-or-die game, we had to win the game," he said after the Bolts' won 91-86 on Friday.
"I think only one team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit and gone back to win the series. We just treated it like there was no tomorrow for us, and it was a must win for us," he added.
Chris Newsome, as usual, was effective on offense with 17 points, but he had unexpected help from Nards Pinto who chipped in with 16 markers.
Subs Mac Belo and Nonoy Baclao also offered quality minutes with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
But while he was happy that they were able to take the win, Black acknowledged that they still gave the Magnolia Hotshots a chance to take the win back.
Regardless, the tactician simply charged it to experience and the struggles of the conference.
"We did have a pretty good sized lead there that we lost once again," said Black.
"I think we got a little bit tired down the stretch but the guys were able to hold on for the victory," he added.
The second-seeded Meralco hopes to dig deep anew and tie the series when Game Four tips off on Sunday.
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