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Black frustration mounts as Meralco limps into crucial stretch of elims

Black frustration mounts as Meralco limps into crucial stretch of elims

STA. ROSA, Laguna – Jared Dillinger and Ranidel de Ocampo are not expected to be back soon even as Meralco’s struggles continue.

Coach Norman Black said there is little progress so far in the recovery of Dillinger and de Ocampo, and their absence has been huge as Bolts have lost five straight.

Dillinger has not played this conference dur to a leg injury, while de Ocampo has missed three games after an operation to remove bone spurs from his foot.

“Nobody is telling me anything,” said Black, frustrated with the spate of injuries to key players.

“JD just got his MRI back and it seems like he still has a tear in his leg. There is no time table in his return. Ranidel is still doing strengthening. All of that is vague and frustrating for me,” Black said.

The Bolts lost another game on Sunday, against reigning champion Barangay Ginebra. An 11-0 run led by Justin Brownlee did it for the Kings on their way to a 111-105 win.

“Up to that point, it has been a competitive game and thought Brownlee pretty much took over the game during that stretch, made some shots. It came when I was subbing through, giving my starters a rest and the second team was in the game when all that happened. Maybe a little fatigued, I have no idea. That was a big run for Ginebra,” said Black.

Black admitted it has been a tough situation for Meralco with the injuries leading to a thin lineup this conference.

“I’m just trying to do my best with what I have. It’s becoming a little bit more difficult because you don’t have the depth you have before. Some of the guys who normally come off the bench were support players are getting major minutes right now. And we seem to suffer a little bit when we sub through. We don’t have the same continuity or the same production and that’s where teams take advantage of us. That’s just the way it is now,” said Black.

Black though said the players are not to blame for the skid as they have been doing the best they can all conference long.

“They are working hard. It’s not really a problem. They are competitive, they are trying their best, but we always seem to come up a little bit short,” said Black.