PBA: Meralco relishes much needed twice-to-beat edge vs San Miguel
MANILA, Philippines—Norman Black has been dealt with every hand possible in the PBA and he knows that every type of advantage is of utmost importance come playoff time.
Meralco ended the elimination round with a big 109-90 win over Phoenix to get to a 7-4 record with a twice-to-beat perk as the fourth seed.
Black said that the Bolts’ playoff advantage is as valuable as any perk as facing the Beermen in the quarterfinals is always a precarious situation.
“This game was the determining factor on whether we would be falling down to the end of the elimination round,” said Black Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “It gets a little bit, you know, sketchy at times when you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen.”
“You have to win to make it. Lose, then it creates problems for you. At this point I’m just happy we got that twice-to-beat because we’re going to need it against San Miguel.”
The Beermen also finished with a 7-4 record but settled for the fifth seed due to its poorer quotient than the Bolts’.
Black, who won 11 titles as a coach and two as a player, added that the last few game days of the elimination round was the most anxiety-inducing period as it’s the time teams are jockeying for those precious twice-to-beat slots while also looking out for potential matchups in the quarterfinals.
The Bolts had a strong 5-1 start to the conference but suddenly dimmed in the latter part losing three straight before ending their campaign with a victory over the Fuel Masters.
That three-game skid put Meralco’s quarterfinal hopes in trouble but the win over Phoenix meant that that the team would get a twice-to-beat perk and a spot in the top four of the ladder.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to be in the second or third position the last few conference so we pretty knew where we stood. But because we lost a few games at the end of the elimination round, we were pretty much up in the air as to who we would play.”