|Philippine Cup||5||9||9th||Lost to Aces in sudden death playoff game|
|Commissioner’s Cup||5||4||5th||Lost to Painters, 2-1 in Best-of-3 quarterfinals|
|2013-14 Team Leaders|
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
|C||Reynel Hugnatan||Sean Anthony|
|F||Cliff Hodge||James Sena||Ryan Buenafe|
|F||Jared Dillinger||Rey Guevarra||Mark Macapagal|
|G||Gary David||John Wilson||Philip Morrison|
|G||Mike Cortez||Simon Atkins||Anjo 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
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?
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:
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