Meralco Gets Boost from Free Agency

Injury problem pushed the Bolts to sign Canaleta and others

The Meralco Bolts are heading into the league’s 43rd season after losing to the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in the Governors’ Cup Finals for the second consecutive year. 
While the series went to a Game 7 after Ginebra blew their chances to sweep the series, the Bolts’ latest setback against the Gin Kings raised many questions which included the question of whether the Bolts will ever have what it takes to win their first championship in franchise history.  Will the Bolts go to win a championship anytime soon or will they settle for runner-up finishes?
Head Coach Norman Black is facing an injury issue with his players, not to mention the fact that the Finals series of the closing conference went to a full 7-game series- causing some Bolt players to feel exhausted after playing extended minutes during that series. Ranidel De Ocampo for one, missed the majority of that series due to injury. RDO did sign a new contract with the Bolts but we all know that he’s no longer the same catch-and-shoot guy we all saw during the last few years. Even though he’s a stretched forward, bigger and younger guys are emerging in the PBA and the Bolts need to provide reinforcements for RDO and company if they want to continue to be a competitive team.
Recently, the Meralco Bolts inked deals with free agents Nico Salva, KG Canaleta, Mac Baracael and Jason Ballesteros – all frontline players- to provide the needed reinforcements especially with Cliff Hodge and Reynel Hugnatan taking extended resting periods. This decision by Norman Black to rest his stars will enable the new guys to have bigger playing minutes starting in the upcoming Philippine Cup which starts on December 17.
KG Canaleta, for one, has been around in the league and has an established reputation as a scorer and a good defender too- something that the Bolts sorely needed. Nico Salva is reunited with his college coach so it’s expected that he’ll be playing more for Meralco. Both Mac Baracael and Jason Ballesteros can beef up the defensive strength of the Bolts owing to their brute size.

Conclusion

Canaleta et al will definitely provide more firepower for the Bolts. Now, whether or not these signings by the Bolts will give Meralco its first-ever championship is something that nobody can ever predict because, at the end of the day, one’s consistency will dictate how far one can go, right? 

Is it going to be a battle of guards? or battle of bigmen? PBA Season 42 Analysis

After the trimming and building of each PBA teams making the most out of the PBA off-season in trying to showcase a strong line up, we are left clueless of the way this upcoming season is going to be.

As each team wanting to get their line ups filled with new faces considering the size and talent after different star player switches and key player trades, it is going to be an anticipated All Filipino Cup again. After the 41st season’s governors’ cup, every one woke up in a surpise after hearing about a report that involves Star Hotshots’ Star player and the former MVP Paul Lee of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. This might be considered as the biggest blockbuster trade in this generation as Star Hotshots acquired the rights to Paul Lee and RoS to James Yap.

This was just one of those trades that happened, after a successful campaign in the Governors’ Cup, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel the previous conference’s champion traded their back ups such as Nico Salva, Dennice Villamor and Franklin Bonifacio. Just when everyone’s expecting for an intact core for this ballclub after a championship they eventually released some of their players due to an overcrowded roster after drafting 3 more bigmen in the latest PBA Rookie Draft. Ginebra picked Kevin Ferrer a University of Sto. Tomas cager and a gilas cadet. They also acquired the rights to sign Jam Jamito of St. Claire college and their former practice player Jericho De Guzman.

San Miguel Beermen also acquired another bigman Van Opstal as a backup of Junmar Fajardo who has a potential to be a threat inside the paint. The beermen then released Gary David from their roster after having some difficulties meeting it’s salary cap and also because of multiple players with the same position as David.

There are lots of trades that involved guards and centers and it’s too many to mention but is this season going to be a battle of fronliners? or a backcourt competition?

Based on what each teams are trying to achieve, San Miguel Beermen’s Junmar Fajardo has been the benchmark. Trying to match up this former MVP is the goal of every team in this conference as they will not have any reinforcement until the 2nd and 3rd conference. Play making is one of the key factors to consider too but the focal point of this new season is building a strong frontline roster for each team to be able to overcome and surpass what Fajardo is producing. With the addition Arnold Van Opstal in the Beermen’s frontcourt, it will be hard for any teams to battle inside the paint.

Well for me? It’s going to be a battle of the goliaths. Having a very skill and size filled rookie class, it will certainly be a matter of who will dominate the paint than who can make plays in the back court.

What Should Ginebra Do to End their Title Drought?

With the takeover of CTC as head coach of the team this season, the Barangay Ginebra are expected
to end their eight year title drought. Unfortunately, the team failed to do so in the AFC after the
controversial loss and quarterfinal exit against the GlobalPort Batang Pier. But they still have 2 conferences to lived up the expectations or else, another failed season. Let us examine what are they
need to do to finally take home the trophy this season.

1. MORE PLAYING TIME for the YOUNG GUNS

a. Scottie Thompson – The very promising rookie out of the Perpetual Help Atlas had make an impression last conference.  He is an all around player and is a very energetic player. He could be the new spark off the bench for Ginebra. Scottie will fill the statsheet every game if given a chance. Based on P.E.R., Thompson is a very efficient player.

b. Nico Salva – Salva had a great collegiate career from Ateneo and we know what he can do inside the court if given a chance. CTC can develop this guy into something special. He can provide some shooting and scoring for the team. He could be the today’s Sunday Salvacion or Mark Macapagal for Ginebra.

2. ACQUIRE a DEADLY SHOOTER and WING DEFENDER

This is what I think the missing piece in Barangay Ginebra’s title quest. Chris Ellis hasn’t shown improvement on his offensive game. And I think its time for them to part with him. They can trade him for the likes of Rey Guevarra, Anthony Semerad or Ronald Pascual plus future picks.

3. CONSISTENCY for JAPETH AGUILAR

Greg Slaughter is the only consistent contributor in Barangay Ginebra bigs and Japeth Aguilar should be the other one. If he will only be consistent together with Slaughter, they will be a force to reckon with every night. Japeth needs to do something with his game or else he would end up playing for another team.

4. SOL MERCADO should be the “SIXTH MAN”

Sol Mercado is a combo guard so he can be the reliever of either L.A. Tenorio or Mark Caguioa. I see him as a great team leader that could guide this team to the championship. You can see the “Never Say Die” spirit on him. If he can average atleast 13 points and 5 assists a game off the bench, Ginebra will be back to the Finals.

5. JOE DEVANCE and JERVY CRUZ should be the “TWIN TOWER’S RELIEVER”

Joe Devance and Jervy Cruz need to provide some scoring off the bench. They should be the reliever of Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter. If this two will be consistent and will contribute every game together with Slaughter and Aguilar, Ginebra would be unstoppable.