These things will hamper the Bolts' chances come the Finals- regardless of who they will face
Allen Durham logged in 46 minutes in Game 3. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Sure, the Meralco Bolts are heading back to the PBA Governors' Cup Finals after sweeping the Star Hotshots via a 91-88 victory last night. While the players deserve to celebrate being back in the Finals and have another shot at winning the first ever title since coming into the league, we all know as well as Coach Norman Black knows for himself that the Bolts will need to play way better in the Finals compared to how sloppy they performed in Game 3.
If anything, Meralco was lucky to be able to come out victorious last night despite their sloppiness. The Bolts will need more than just luck especially if they are to face-off against the defending champions, Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, again, should the Gin Kings prevail as victors in their on-going semifinal series against the Talk N Text KaTropa which will be playing their Game 3 tonight.
3 Bad Numbers to Forget in the Finals
Allen Durham had to play for 46 MINUTES
Make no mistake about it, folks. Allen Durham has emerged as one of the best imports to play in this year's Governors' Cup. If anything, his 24 points, 19 rebounds and 6 assists were testaments to how great Durham is as a player. But, if the Bolts want a fighting chance against whoever they will be facing in the Finals, Allen Durham must be fresh especially during the critical situations of the game which means, he shouldn't be playing for 46 MINUTES.
This means that the rest of the Bolts must step up on both ends of the court to shred off some pressure from Durham and give him the appropriate time to rest. One bad effect of Durham playing heavy minutes which was visible in last night's Game 3 was the fact that Star threw two defenders at Durham on multiple occasions which resulted in 7 turnovers by Durham himself. 7 wasted scoring opportunities.
To be honest with you, this basketball pundit cannot believe that the Bolts did actually win last night despite the fact that there were careless with the ball and turned the ball over 20 times. 20 turnovers. 20 wasted opportunities to score. 20 mistakes which the Star Hotshots took advantage and scored 18 points off those turnovers. As mentioned earlier, 7 of those turnovers came from Durham and mind you, he had the same number of turnovers as of the entire Star team.
7 Missed Free Throws
Simply put it this way: free throws should be the easiest way for any team to score points and teams should take advantage of all of their opportunities to score free throws because whether we like it or not, free throws can have a rippling effect on the outcome of the game especially if the score is close. And, in last night's Game 3, the Bolts missed 7 missed that would have widened the lead given the closeness of the score. Had the Bolts made more free throws, Meralco would have won it in the 4th quarter.
Regardless of who they will be playing against in the Finals, the Meralco Bolts have to remember one thing: both the Gin Kings and the KaTRopa are two talent-laden teams and can compete against them at full force. If anything, their lapses in Game 3 should be a warning sign to the Bolts that if they don't improve and play like they did in Game 2, there won't be a championship celebration for Meralco.