20 July 2011

What's Next Bolts?

Meralco Bolts
For the Meralco Bolts and their fans, the 2011 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governor’s Cup is in the books. Whatever happens to their game later against Powerade will not change the fact that they will not play another game until the next season starts. It is simple to sit here and dwell on the “what ifs” that came with the third conference, but what good would that do? The only thing to do now is look ahead, to the future of this team in the years to come and to see if there is any hope in sight.

Before we delve into the future of the White and Orange, we need to set some things straight. First, we should appreciate the first year of acquisition of a franchise and forming a competitive team that was the past. Yes, I said the past. The end of the impressive recruitment, trades and drafting concessions that was all part of the team formation, before owners consolidate their assets by acquiring multiple teams and leaving competition in limbo, came to an end this past year for good.

Sure, Asi Taulava, Mark Cardona and Solomon Mercado will all be back next season for the Bolts, but not without being another year older and having even less in the tank than they did this year at season’s end. So, we need not dwell on whether the three men who have been most responsible for bringing the team almost out of the bottom half have another run in them. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but they don't.

The competition will continue to get stronger by using questionable deals and making the league a game between five owners instead of ten. That's the trend, folks. It makes me sick to my stomach to even say that, but it is true. And they will only continue to get better and pretend that there is no such thing as a "sister team accommodation". Check out 2010 alone, sort of the project season, look what the major team owners have already been able to do. With the exception of Alaska Aces and Rain or Shine Elastopainters, the powerhouse teams are farming star players from their lesser counterparts. There may be a hint of competitiveness here and there, but the fact of the matter is that they cannot sustain it, and, even if they do, it will not be good enough for the owners financially. An enormous THANK YOU to the Meralco Bolts for putting up a good fight, but the time has come to change this team's philosophy.

We have to remember that the 2006-2007 All-Filipino dominance by the Sta. Lucia Realtors (the original franchise of Meralco Bolts) was built on toughness. The Realtors were a mature team who could grind out victories during this time period. But now the Bolts team need to turn the page, and introduce a new philosophy. And that philosophy my friends is athleticism and not to accommodate their sister team, Talk N' Text.

It is just the way the league is going. How do you get “athletic” one might ask? Well, by starting to build the team around youth is a start. This is more than a one offseason project, but it starts now. And, it specifically starts with making sure that you sign an athletic center in the draft. There are lots of potential in the coming draft and it might be more prudent to get rid of the aging Marlou Aquino, offline shooter Yousif Aljamal and inconsistent Renren Ritualo.

The other important piece of knowledge in this year’s games is the need to make sure that plays are not designed to let Talk N’ Text win in their match against the Bolts. Everyone knows that both are sister teams given the way they played each other. The games always ended the same way as before, Bolts losing by a small margin. I even think there were times in the court when the coaching staff should have let the players pour it all out and bury the Texters to jeopardize their quotient chances. However, given that the Texters are being groomed for a grand slam feat, this will be a taboo for Manny Pangilinan.

With the youth movement hopefully in full swing going forward, it will be essential for the Bolts' management to get this offseason right. More work needs to be done, but if they can at least get this one right, it will leave less to do come next conference.

No comments:

Post a Comment