Meralco coach Norman Black called out his import Alex Stepheson as the Bolts suffered three straight losses which cost them a chance to nab a twice-to-beat ticket in the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Stepheson, who has averages of 16.9 points and 21 rebounds per game, has to be more assertive on the offensive side of the floor, according to Black.
“He (Alex) has to play a lot better,” Black said. “We need to get more production from him.”
Stepheson has had an up-and-down game during Meralco’s losing streak. He had 19 points and 27 boards in a 94-86 loss to GlobalPort, but was limited to nine points and nine rebounds in a 108-90 drubbing at the hands of Star.
He was able to bounce back in Meralco’s 90-89 defeat to Ginebra, tallying 18 points, 20 rebounds and five blocks. But he also had seven turnovers.
Black compared Stepheson to TNT’s new burly import, Joshua Smith, who’s putting up 23 points and 11 boards per outing.
“He’s been solid in rebounding and defense, but he has to do a better job in scoring to be able to match up with TNT’s new big import,” Black said.
Meralco (7-4) has fallen out of the top two because of the consecutive losses, but Black remains pleased with his team’s recent performances despite not coming out victorious.
“I don’t think there’s something wrong with the way we played the last three games. Although we lost the games, it didn’t mean we play bad,” Black said. “We played well against Ginebra and in fact, had a chance of winning the game, but we end up at the lower half of the final score. But you can’t take away from our players because they’ve played so hard to get a chance to win.”