23 February 2011

Bolts Still Lacks Depth

Meralco Bolts Team
It will come as no surprise anymore if somebody assumes that Meralco Bolt's championship hopes will rest on the health of their three stars. This can be said for most teams, but it carries even more weight with the Bolts, who lack the overall depth of some of the league's other contenders. Even a short-term injury to Macmac Cardona, Sol Mercado or Gabby Espinas can become debilitating for Meralco.

It appears at this time that the team was built around these three. It's not only important that all three of them be healthy, but they should also play well.

The Bolts learned that lesson last conference when Cardona was hurt and they got hammered for several nights. Even if let's say the team's strength was sapped which resulted in lopsided losses, there was no denying Cardona's value to the team.

Nobody can fill Cardona's shoes. Not even newly acquired Sol Mercado. Cardona has been a scoring champ for a couple of conferences so collectively the rest of the team will have to make up for his loss.

So far, the Bolts has been fortunate that none of its recruits and three stars have suffered a significant injury.

If injuries will again plague the team during the reinforced conference, the effect will not be felt much because of the presence of imports. The only thing that the team can do is just play and hope that the reinforcement they got can do multiple roles.

Cardona has not missed too many games in his career to injuries. He's come right back. Mercado had some things in Rain or Shine bench at the end of last conference, but there is not as much toll on his body. There is not that much toll on Espinas body either.

Using the numbers last conference, Cardona, Mercado and Espinas can combine to average nearly 60 points with the rest of the team averaging about 30. If Cardona or Mercado is out for an extended period of time, the Bolts will likely have to lean on Renren Ritualo and Chris Ross, who has a breakout period with the Bolts and is considered as one of PBA top guard defenders today.

Still, the biggest concern for the Bolts could center on Espinas. With Reynel Hugnatan's health still in question and Asi Taulava not anymore as mobile as before, Meralco has little depth at the center and power forward position.

Espinas should realize that he brings a lot to the table and gives a lot to the team. This alone should inspire him to stay healthy, first and foremost.

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