The Meralco Bolts needed this one.
Holding impressive wins over the San Miguel Beermen, Star Hotshots, and Talk N’ Text, they could be sitting pretty at 3rd place in the standing if they had only beaten the Alaska Aces. Meralco had a wide open chance to get that lead. Alaska wasn’t having a good game offensively scoring just 98.5 points per 100 possession because they had their most inefficient shooting night (48.6% eFG) and had their third most turnover prone game (19.3% TOV).
But the Meralco Bolts couldn’t take advantage of that.
For all of the missed Alaska Aces shots, all 39 of them, 36.2% were collected by the Aces. The Bolts watched as Calvin Abueva grabbed six offensive rebounds (which gave him all the right to rub it in their faces every now and then).
The Bolts, however, did a good job forcing turnovers and getting steals (Alaska’s 19.3 TOV% is the most by a Bolts opponent this conference), but none of that really counts when you can’t make the ball go through the hoop on the other end. The Bolts posted their worst offensive outing since their debut game against Global Port (83.0 ORTG and 35.3% eFG). Meralco still couldn’t find any rhythm on offense (Mike Cortez won’t shoot 3-for-3 from 3 again anytime soon) and their offense was all about isolating Emmett from the perimeter, waiting for him to create something off the dribble. When Emmett is eating up Meralco’s possessions like that and he makes things happen, it’s okay. But when it results into an eFG of 31.3% and only 6.3 AST%, it doesn’t leave many possessions for the other players on the team to work with.
Romeo Travis had a monster game (63.7% TS, 30.8% USG, 6/43/26 rebounding split) seemingly doing everything for the Aces. This was a defensive game and Romeo’s offensive output, along with Casio (35.4% AST rate, no turnovers and 1 3-pointers made), were enough to push Alaska to a win.
The Bolts had every chance to win this game and they missed out. Now instead of heading into a match up against a Rain or Shine team that is in “On Fire” mode with 3 consecutive wins, they will now be heading into that game with a lose that shouldn’t have happened.
Here’s to hoping they will figure themselves out with only three games remaining before the playoffs begin.
Feature Image via Slam Philippines, Paul Ryan Tan