Meralco was the No. 1 team coming into the playoffs but played nothing like it, at least on the defensive end on Wednesday.
Import Allen Durham said the Bolts didn’t play defense the way they had been defending in the elimination round where they wound up at the helm in a tight race for the top spot.
And Meralco’s poor defense resulted to a stunning loss to No. 8 Blackwater, which took a 92-91 win on a game-winner to setup a do-or-die game for a semifinals slot on Thursday.
“We’re out of it just the whole game. We’re doing a lot of dumb stuff on defense. We just weren’t playing like ourselves,” said the reigning Best Import.
The Bolts played in their second game in three days, but Durham said it’s no excuse to play as badly as they did defensively.
“A little bit [tired], but not as much as like not doing what we’re needed to do on the defensive end. We left a lot of wide-open shots, and that team is filled with shooters and if you do that they’re gonna knock it down.”
Durham nearly won it for Meralco after giving his team a 91-90 lead with 15.8 seconds left before Allein Maliksi put Blackwater ahead for good on a mid-range jumper six seconds later.
“Like I said, as a team collectively, we played pretty bad on defense and for myself, I gotta be more aggressive on offense. I gotta do more. I’ll pick it up on Thursday and hopefully, come out with the win,” said Durham.
Durham collected 18 points, 21 rebounds and seven assists, but he was still outplayed by Henry Walker, who put up 30 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter, 18 rebounds and six assists to lead Blackwater.