2011 PBA DRAFT: MERALCO BOLTS – WHAT THEY NEED



(This is the first of ten articles called What They Need. Last year, I made a version where we called out a PBA team’s roster and pick out the slots they need to shore up. Most of these deficiencies are addressed via the draft.)

Despite being a rookie team, Meralco is not an inexperienced squad. First up, they have the core of the Sta. Lucia Realtors and while most of the players of the team are playing in other teams, Chris Ross, Nelbert Omolon, Marlou Aquino, Yousif Aljamal, Ogie Menor, and Gabby Espinas aren’t patsies. And then they plucked Ryan Gregorio and Ronnie Magsanoc from B-Meg. Gregorio bolstered his lineup by claiming Macmac Cardona and Asi Taulava at the start of the conference and then acquired Solomon Mercado, Mark Isip, Reynel Hugnatan, Chris Timberlake, and Renren Ritualo at the course of the midseason. Add the fact that they have young blood in Shawn Weinstein and Bam Gamalinda. 

So why can’t they move past the next level?  



TOP FIVE BOLTS OF THE 2010-11 SEASON:

1 MACMAC CARDONA
PHILCUP: 21.5PPG, 4.5RPG, 3.4APG
COMCUP: 15.1PPG, 6.1RPG, 3.7APG
GOVCUP: 13.0PPG, 3.0RPG, 5.0APG

2 SOL MERCADO
PHILCUP: (AS ROS) 16.9PPG, 3.8RPG, 4.3APG
COMCUP: 15.1PPG, 5.8RPG, 5.0APG
GOVCUP: 21.8PPG, 5.9RPG, 5.5APG

3 GABBY ESPINAS
PHILCUP: 14.2PPG, 8.4RPG, 0.9APG
COMCUP: 9.7PPG, 8.4RPG, 1.8APG
GOVCUP: 11.0PPG, 9.1RPG, 1.1APG

4 ASI TAULAVA
PHILCUP: 7.0PPG, 7.7RPG, 1.0APG
COMCUP: 8.9PPG, 6.4RPG, 0.6APG
GOVCUP: 6.8PPG, 10.0RPG, 0.4BPG

5 CHRIS ROSS 
PHILCUP: 9.8PPG, 5.5RPG, 6.3APG
COMCUP: 4.7PPG, 5.3RPG, 5.9APG
GOVCUP: DID NOT PLAY



WHAT THEY NEED:

CENTERS: Asi Taulava can still go. They also have Mark Isip in their arsenal. I don’t think they can solve their size by checking in the draft not unless they can trade for Powerade’s top spot.

FORWARDS: Again, the only way that this pick would some mileage is through trading up. I can see Powerade agreeing on Mark Isip with Ogie Menor or Shawn Weinstein and they could ship Nelbert Omolon to Rain or Shine who needs to have a forward that can play the power and small positions.

GUARDS: This is a position that Meralco has somewhat strengthened. If injuries won’t hurt them, the triumvirate of Cardona, Meralco, Ritualo, and Ross is dimmed unstoppable. Also, the development of Weinstein and Timberlake would get dampen once a rookie quarterback comes in and takes some of their playing time.


WHO SHOULD THEY PICK? 

The Bolts do not have the luxury of a first round pick. They could trade up but they’ll likely take out a productive performer. The best pick to suit their squad is Marcio Lassiter. The guy is a do-it-all that can play multiple positions. Chris Lutz is also a possibility. If they have a second round choice, Dave Marcelo or Garvo Lanete could join the draft. Dylan Ababou for me is the pick they should look out for. The guy can score and surprisingly he has a spot-on basketball IQ.


Game over.

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