That’s Norman Black letting out a big sigh at the end of the post-game interview that he attended as the winning coach in the crucial Meralco-Barangay Ginebra tiff Sunday at the Philippine Arena.
Black himself was amazed at the giant effort put in by his badly undermanned Meralco team to pull the rug from under their heavy favorite rival and in the process keep their slim playoff hopes in the PBA Philippine Cup.
On sheer heart, the Bolts jolted the Kings, 84-82, to catch up with the Blackwater Elite and the TNT KaTropa Texters at ninth place at 4-6.
Garvo Lanete, Jason Ballesteros, Anjo Caram and Chris Newsome delivered in the absence of Cliff Hodge, Jared Dillinger and Ranidel de Ocampo as the Bolts stayed alive and foiled the Kings’ first crack at an outright quarterfinals entry.
The Bolts play another do-or-die setto versus the Magnolia Hotshots in Cagayan de Oro on Saturday. The Kings, meanwhile, take another shot at the quarters versus the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at the close of the elims on March 2.
Meralco 84 – Lanete 19, Caram 16, Newsome 12, Hugnatan 12, Ballesteros 7, Salva 5, Amer 4, Bono 4, Canaleta 3, Faundo 2, Tolomia 0, Sedurifa 0.
Brgy. Ginebra 82 – Aguilar 20, Thompson 17, Slaughter 12, Mercado10, CAguioa 6, Tenorio 5, Cruz 5, Devance 4, Mariano 3, Ferrer 0, Manuel 0.
Quarters: 15-20, 45-38, 67-64, 84-82.