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Bolts coach relishes ‘spectacular moment’

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PBA MERALCO coach Luigi Trillo is thrilled to be part of a triple-overtime encounter between the Bolts and Phoenix Super LPG in the quarterfinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The first time is always the sweetest and coaching in his first ever triple-overtime game is something that Meralco coach Luigi Trillo will not forget.

The 48-year-old Trillo admitted that their marathon quarterfinal duel with a gritty Phoenix Super LPG side in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup was a “spectacular moment” that strengthened their resolve and their tightened their bond as a team.

Trillo said he will forever remember the competitive nature of the match that served as only the 14th triple-overtime encounter in PBA history with the last happening in a knockout duel between NorthPort and NLEX in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Governors’ Cup.

“I haven’t been,” Trillo told DAILY TRIBUNE when asked if he had ever experienced coaching in the game that went into triple overtime and lasted for nearly four hours.

“Whether we win or lose, that was one spectacular moment. Both teams not giving up. We had injuries all around, but we found a way. That’s the most important thing. Now, we need to focus on that one game.”

Facing a twice-to-win disadvantage, the Bolts were able to pull off a gripping 116-107 triple-overtime win over Phoenix Super LPG on Wednesday night to set up a no-tomorrow encounter with the Fuel Masters on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Bolts were able to win despite missing the services of hardworking forward Cliff Hodge, who injured his ankle with 2:17 left in the first overtime.

Hodge has been the primary defender of the Bolts and his ability remains a big question mark ahead of their rubber match.

Aaron Black, who had a splendid performance in their latest win against the Fuel Masters where he dropped 18 points including a bundle in the extra periods, also had to leave the game in crucial moments as he was bothered by pain on his knee.

“No pain, no gain” is such an overused phrase in sports, but such philosophy was something the Bolts will need to bank on as they shoot for a win to secure a spot in the best-of-five semifinals.

Trillo is not a firm believer of momentum shift, knowing that both teams badly wanted to win.

With a banged-up roster, he needs to sum up the resilience of his entire squad one more time to salvage a victory and keep its campaign going.

“For us, whatever it takes. We’ve been in this situation before. I think we have to keep that momentum going,” said Trillo, who drew offensive contributions from six players.

“But there were a lot of heroes in this game.”

Despite leaving early with an injured ankle, Hodge was still able to finish with a double-double performance of 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Import Shonn Miller also came away with a double-double showing, producing 18 points on to of 20 boards, Bong Quinto added 19, Black and Allein Maliksi had 18 apiece and Chris Newsome ended up with 16, including a game-tying, buzzer-beating triple that sent the game to first overtime.

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