BOCAUE — Meralco coach Norman Black kept it short and sweet after his side once again finished runner-up to Ginebra, losing Game 7, 101-96, in front of a record-breaking Philippine Arena crowd.
“First of all, congratulations to Ginebra and coach Tim (Cone),” he said as he made his way out of the dugout.
The usually outspoken Black kept his mouth shut regarding the outcome of the game even as he failed to hide his frustration on the heels of another bridesmaid finish.
READ: Ginebra escapes Meralco in Game 7, completes title repeat
“Other than that, I don’t really have any comments. I wasn’t very happy with the way the game was governed tonight and I don’t wanna give the Commissioner any money so I’d just leave it at that, okay? Thank you,” he said as he made his exit.
Though Black did not expound on what he meant, he was certainly referring to how the game was officiated in the endgame.
The Bolts crawled their way back from 20 points down, 32-52 in the second quarter and finally strung a huge run in the endgame, cutting the lead down to single digits.
READ: Black blasts Cone after post-game spat
Black, though, was left fuming on the bench after the officials made two head-scratching calls.
The first was a foul on Anjo Caram, when LA Tenorio tripped in his own foot without the diminutive guard making any contact with the veteran playmaker, at the 2:45 mark of the fourth quarter. That call rewarded Tenorio two freebies which brought Ginebra’s lead back up to 11, 96-85.
The second was the more heartbreaking, as the officials failed to call a backcourt violation on Justin Brownlee in the final minute just mere seconds after Jared Dillinger sliced the lead down to four, 100-96.
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With Black opting to not go into details, the press went to his deputy Luigi Trillo for some explanation.
“Obviously, there were calls that were tough down the stretch. They called certain backings, we thought there was a backing, but Ginebra played well in the start,” he said.
Although he shared the same sentiment with Black, Trillo did give the Gin Kings some credit for what was a hard-fought game.
“It’s hard to play a knockout game chasing from behind. They had a lot of energy to start the game. LA and Justin hit shots that were mano-mano. They made some shots, and it is what it is. Hats off to them,” he said.