#PBA2015 Roster Review: The Meralco Bolts

With the 2014-2015 PBA season’s official rosters released, I found it only logical to look at each line-up and see where each team stands. In this series of posts, I’ll be breaking down each team’s bigs, wings, and floor generals while also looking at what kind of damage they’ll do this season.
Let’s look at roster of the Meralco Bolts.

Are the Bolts ready to shock the PBA this season?

Overall 2013-2014 Record: 14 wins and 22 losses.

Best Finish: Quarterfinals in the 2014 Commish Cup.

BIGS: Sean Anthony, Danny Ildefonso, James Sena, Reynel Hugnatan, Cliff Hodge, John Ferriols
- Right off the bat, what’s apparent is that this is not a big team. James Sena is, arguably, the only natural center in this bunch, with the rest of the guys power forwards who will probably play slightly out of position. The flipside, of course, is that this will probably be a speedy, run-and-gun team that will take advantage of fastbreak opportunities.

- There’s a bit of an enigma on this team, however, as new head coach Norman Black isn’t really known for focusing on speed. The bemedalled mentor who most recently led Talk N Text to a Philippine Cup title in 2013 is famous for his deliberate style, and, at least when he was still coaching Ateneo in the UAAP, he maximized his team’s size advantage. He won’t have that here in Meralco. Instead, he’ll have a team that, in some ways is similar to what he had in TNT. Cliff Hodge and Sean Anthony, if their three-pointers are accurate, can be Class A versions of Ranidel De Ocampo, while Reynel Hugnatan, despite his advanced age, can be as tenacious on the boards as Kelly Williams.

Cliff Hodge should make another jump in his third year in the PBA.
(image from Pranz Kaeno Billones/Sports 5)

WINGS: John Wilson, Ryan Buenafe, Jared Dillinger, Rey Guevarra, Gary David,
- This is where we’ll probably see coach Black’s hallmark of having good shooters surround his frontline. Wilson, Dillinger, and David are all knock-down shooters in the pros, and they also have decent size to match-up with opposing wingmen on the defensive end. I would certainly love to see Dillinger be a dominant offensive player this season, especially after he put up some of his best offensive numbers and percentages. When paired with the trigger-happy Gary David, this can potentially be the best starting wing combo in the country.

Jared Dillinger is expected to put up career numbers in the 2014-2015 season.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports 5)

- Speaking of David, the man dubbed “El Granada” hasn’t been able to be as potent as he was in his last season with the Powerade Tigers, but, under coach Black, it’s possible he might discover his world-beating form. I mean, this is a guy who averaged close to 26 points per game as recently two years ago. I would surely love to see the Gilas sniper regain his super-sharp touch for Meralco.

Gary David needs to rediscover his explosive form if
the Bolts are to make any noise this season.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports 5)

FLOOR GENERALS: Simon Atkins, Phillip Morrison, Mike Cortez, Anjo Caram
- This is where things can get pretty shaky for the Bolts, as there’s no real marquee playmaker in this bunch. Mike Cortez’s best is already behind him, , while Anjo Caram is yet to find his bearings. Simon Atkins has had a few shining moments, but they’ve come too few and far between. Morrison, meanwhile, is still untested at this level of play, so the jury’s out on him, too. If coach Black can find a way to bring out the best in this curious group of point guards, though, then Meralco may just surpass its highest last season, which was to reach one conference quarterfinals.

Final Word: Change
- Meralco seems to have always had the talent, but they’ve never really been able to move to the elite level for some reason. Now that the Bolts have a champion coach in Norman Black, though, the winds of change might just be coming in. If there’s anybody who can turn a team’s fortunes around, its Black, and with so much talent to compensate for its deficiency in size, Meralco can make a really big splash in 2014-2015.

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