Black counting on Newsome to deliver on both ends for Bolts
MANILA, Philippines — Head coach Norman Black knows exactly who to turn to when the going gets tough for Meralco.
Chris Newsome has emerged as the Bolts go-to guy this conference and it’s his steady play down the stretch that has helped Meralco achieve some success early into the season.
Black said easing Newsome’s burden on the defensive end has allowed the athletic guard to flourish in offense where he’s been lethal in crucial stages of the game.
“We’re trying to take some defensive pressure off him. Normally he’s assigned to the best offensive player on the other side every single night,” said Black.
“But we’re trying to take that away so he can concentrate more on his offense and his offense has really been flowing.”
Newsome came up clutch for Meralco when he scored eight of his 23 points in overtime in the Bolts’ 109-104 win over the Magnolia Hotshots on Tuesday.
The former Ateneo standout then displayed his all-around game with 18 points, six rebounds and six assists in a 101-92 win over NLEX three nights later as Meralco notched its second straight win to improve to 3-2.
The 30-year-old Newsome, though, remains a critical part of Meralco’s defensive schemes.
“At the end of the game, he’s still guarding the best player on the other team,” Black said.
“But more important than that, we’re making sure the ball is in his hands in the fourth quarter, and he’s the guy that’s gonna deliver for us.”
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