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2014-15 Meralco Bolts PBA Primer

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2013-14 Standings:

 WINLOSSRANKPLAYOFFS
Philippine Cup599thLost to Aces in sudden death playoff game
Commissioner’s Cup545thLost to Painters, 2-1 in Best-of-3 quarterfinals
Governor’s Cup369th
Total1425

 

2013-14 Team Leaders
PPGGary David16.44
APGJared Dillinger2.73
RPGCliff Hodge7.27
BPGCliff Hodge0.93
SPGCliff Hodge0.90

 

Players Lost: Gilbert Bulawan (Free Agent), Jason Balesteros (Dispersal Draft), Paul Artadi (dispersal draft), Sunday Salvacion (Free Agent)
2014 Draft Picks: None
Players Added: Philip Morrison (Trade), Ryan Buenafe (Free Agent), Sean Anthony (Free Agent), Sumon Atkins (Free Agent), Mark Macapagal (Free Agent)

2014 Projected Depth Chart

CReynel HugnatanSean Anthony
FCliff HodgeJames SenaRyan Buenafe
FJared DillingerRey GuevarraMark Macapagal
GGary DavidJohn WilsonPhilip Morrison
GMike CortezSimon AtkinsAnjo Caram

 

The Bandwagon Wire Says:

The hype surrounding Mercalco’s return to the professional basketball, ranks after a 38-year absence, during the 37th season of the PBA was featured in various media platforms. The hiring of Coach Ryan Gregoria, after a successful run with the Purefoods franchise, was seen as a huge coup for the new team. Back that up with a solid roster and a dedicated owner, almost everyone expected that the team would contend year-in and year-out after a season or two.

After 3 seasons, the team had won a grand total of 0 championships. To make matters worse, the team only made the semifinals once. Coach Gregorio even gave himself a dare that he would not cut his hair until the team wins a championship. We all know how that went

Image courtesy of the Solar Sports Desk

Image courtesy of the Solar Sports Desk

Fast-forward to now, after a coaching carousel within the MVP group, Norman Black is now the head coach of the Bolts while Coach Gregorio is now the team’s governor. This is Coach Black’s 3rd team in 3 years, after a legendary run with the Ateneo Blue Eagles and a good run with the Talk N Text Tropang Texters. The question now is, can Coach Norman Black and his coaching staff give the Meralco Bolts its first deep conference run?

Storylines

Mike Cortez’s Return

Mike Cortez only played 15 games last season. During his short run, Cortez averaged 11.47 points and 5.27 assists in 31.6 minutes.

The point guard position was the team’s biggest problem last year. A rotating cast of Chris Ross, Chris Timberlake, Paul Artadi, and even Jared Dillinger spent time at the point for the squad. With the Cool Cat’s return, finally the Bolts have someone who can move the ball around, find the open shooters or make timely passes at the post.

Moreover, the depth at the point guard position for the team is also a vast improvement last season with the signing of suddenly emerging Simon Atkins and a more mature Anjo Caram as back-ups.

Gary David’s Age

Gary David turned 36 this year. The biggest question for the Bolts though is whether Gary David’s body could still sustain the rigorous schedule of the PBA.

Last season, Gary David played a total of 36 games. Here are El Granada’s averages from the 2013-14 PBA Season:

GPMPGPPGFG%FT%3FG%TOPG
Gary David3635.1916.4441.4%79.9%33.2%2.22

The games Gary David played though does not include his stint playing for the Men’s Basketball National Team, including the tune-up games, the World Cup games and the ASEAN games.

At age 36, can the league’s 3rd leading scorer last season still continue to log the same number of minutes or more for the Bolts this season?

2014 Philippine Cup Prediction

The 2014 Meralco Bolts, even though they are one of the smallest teams in the league this season with an average height of 6’1”, are still a dangerous team with the amount of talent they have. The team’s starting five can go toe-to-toe with the league’s best while Rey Guevarra, John Wilson, and Simon Atkins will provide firepower off-the-bench. However, the team still has a huge hole at the center spot unless Rabeh Al-Husaini, in someway, would return from Kuwait and help beef up the Bolts. The huge hole at the back-up center spot will plague the team against tall teams like the Barangay, the Beermen, the Hotshots or even banging teams like the Elasto Painters or the Aces.

We predict that the Meralco Bolts will eventually have that deep run but not in the All-Filipino conference. The team will surely make a semifinals, or even finals berth, next conference.

Our prediction: 7th place, eliminated in the quarterfinals

 2014-15 PBA Philippine Cup Primers


TBT - PBA - Alaska Aces-01TBT - PBA - Barako Bull-01
TBT - PBA - Ginebra Gin Kings-01TBT - PBA - Global Port Batang Pier-01
TBT - PBA - Meralco Bolts-01TBT - PBA - NLEX Roadwarriors-01
TBT - PBA - Purefoods Hotshots-01TBT - PBA - Rain or Shine Elasto Painters-01
TBT - PBA - San Miguel Beermen-01TBT - PBA - Talk N Text Tropang Texters-01
TBT - PBA - Blackwater Elite & Kia Sorrento-01
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Football

Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory

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Photo from the-AFC.com

2017 AFC ASEAN Zone Champions Ceres-Negros banked on their poise and composure from the spot as they knocked out Myanmar’s Shan United via a 4-3 penalty shootout (1-1 after extra time) triumph, Tuesday evening at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The Negrenses punched their ticket to Brisbane, Australia after emerging the better spotkick takers. Four Busmen were on target, while two of their Shan Warriors counterparts fluffed their lines.

The two domestic champions were inseparable after 120 minutes, with the hosts holding their own against the Philippine champions. Ceres-Negros looked the more dominant of the two teams. However, they couldn’t make the advantage count where it mattered, as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.

The visitors were visibly more comfortable in the first half, but with the scores staying level at the break, the less-fancied Myanmar champions eventually found their footing in the encounter. While there were several half-chances from either side to open the scoring, both defenses remained defiant en route to unwanted extra time.

“It was a tough game. We weren’t ready to play 120 minutes because we only had four training sessions before the game but everytime we wear this jersey, we represent Ceres, we represent Bacolod, we represent the Philippines, so we have to give our best,” Ceres’ defender Carli de Murga elaborated to the Inquirer after the match. The Asian Football season has yet to start, and with both teams not too busy with pre-season preparations, rust and fatigue in a demanding affair were evident.

Come extra time, Ceres-Negros took the initiative when Stephan Schröck’s deflected effort went past the helpless Thiha Si Thu just three minutes into the first half.

Nonetheless, the hosts refused to go down without a fight, and their resilience was rewarded later in the opening half. Substitute Patrick Asare found the back of the net to restore parity in Yangon.

Another 15 minutes of goalless action took place in the second half as both teams looked more cautious, perhaps with the collective aim of avoiding a costly error or two. Among all the chances, Schröck’s in the 114th minute may have proved to be the closest to changing the scores, as his attempt shaved the post.

Shan United took to the spot first, where Asare made his penalty attempt count. Nay Lin Tun also made his, but not before teammate Chizoba smashed his attempt over Toni Doblas’ goal.

While the hosts squandered a shot, the visitors remained calm in front of a hostile Myanmar crowd. De Murga, Schröck and Mike Ott nailed their turns, with Marañon also not missing a vital kick from 12 yards.

It set up William Biassi Nyakwe, the man credited with the own goal when he deflected Schröck’s opener, with the chance to prolong his team’s campaign in the AFC Champions League. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t atone for his earlier mistake, as his attempt soared high and wide — much to the delight of the visiting team from Bacolod, the Philippines.

The reward for Ceres-Negros is a trip to Queensland, Australia, where they will seek to do one better than compatriots Global-Cebu. The 2016 Philippine champions also played against the Brisbane Roar, who dealt them a staggering 6-0 hammering this time last year. The match will be held at the Suncorp Stadium on January 23.

As for Shan United, a spot in the AFC Cup Group Stage awaits them and they may not have seen the last of Ceres-Negros just yet. If the Negrenses lose to either Brisbane Roar or Tianjin Quanjian, they will be reacquainted with the Burmese champions in Group F.

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Basketball

Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’

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Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.

After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.

The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.

“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.

“It’s just humbling, definitely.”

However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.

“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.

“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”

Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.

“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup

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Stronger than ever

Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.

Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.

Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.

Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.

The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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NCAA

Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win

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Shaking off a forgettable outing against the Perpetual Help Altas last January 11, the San Beda College Red Spikers vented their ire on defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers in four sets, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, and claimed their second win of the season, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“Sabi ng coaches kalimutan na yung talo,” shared captain Lorenze Santos of what transpired after that match.

So, in this game, the San Beda team poured on what they worked hard for to regain momentum. “Binuhos po namin lahat ng ginawa namin sa training [ngayon].”

After tight starts in all the first two sets, the Mendiola-based side pulled away to register the seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Nonetheless, summoning the heart of a champion and led by seniors Isaah Arda and Jethro Orian, the reigning champions pulled off gritty runs to snag the third set and making a tussle of the fourth.

Ultimately, Adrian Viray virtually ended the match with a vicious serve, which the Blazers failed to convert.

The prolific outside hitter finished with 17 points, 11 coming from attacks and five off blocks. Former skipper Mark Encino also registered 17 markers.

The Red Spikers (2-1) will face the Mapua University, also at 2-1, on Friday, January 19.

Orian was such a presence at the net, ending up with 20 points for the Taft-based squad.

The defending champions Blazers (2-1) will try to bounce back later that day against San Sebastian College (0-3).

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Viray 17, Enciso 17, Santos 11, Patenio 7, Amagan 7, Desuyo 3, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.

CSB 1 – Orian 20, Arda 18, Bacani 6, Basilan 4, Bautista 4, Magsino 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, San Miguel 0, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

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