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Uichico: TNT needs to match Meralco’s defense, intensity

10:24 AM September 30, 2016
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TNT coach Jong Uichico was bracing for the worst, and Meralco game them just that.

Coming out with a lot of fire, the Bolts handed the KaTropa only their second defeat in the season-ending 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup, evening up their semifinals series with a 106-91 victory on Thursday.

“We started flat and we knew naman that Meralco will come out with a lot of energy,” he said. “We didn’t come out with a lot of energy. We shouldn’t have played catch-up the whole game.”

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With Meralco dictating the tempo, TNT fell behind early and had to battle back from double digit lead, with the deficit extending to as high as 24, 76-52.

The Bolts held a 20-point lead going to the fourth period, 80-60, triggering Uichico to wave the white flag and opt to sit out Jayson Castro for the rest of the fourth frame.

“That’s coaches’ decision because the game is already too big,” the mentor explained, “If we have cut the lead down a little earlier, then I could have brought him back.”

Uichico, though, still isn’t panicking yet, but called out his team to perform the way they did all conference long.

“Just because our record in the eliminations was a very good record, which we will take anytime, it doesn’t mean that we can just show up and win any game,” he said.

“We really need to play some defense, match their energy, match their intensity.”

Game 3 is on Saturday, still at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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