19 April 2013

Is There a Chance for Meralco Bolts?

Bolt-San Mig Match-Up
The quarterfinal round of the present Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup will start today and nobody expect it to be pretty. Sometimes it takes an extra game, but inexperienced and poorly coached teams like the Meralco Bolts are always dispatched by true contenders like the San Mig Coffee Mixers – their opponents in the best-of-three series.

If you call yourself a true follower of PBA games, I challenge you to explain why you think the Bolts will be able to escape this one with an upset. Tim Cone is the longest winning active coach right now and he deserved to carry his San Mig team for a run at a title. That's what many fans really came to see. Sorry Cinderella hopefuls, but you can run back home to the D-League Tournament if you want.

For all of the "The Bolts will win if..." banter you find in several blogs and forums over this week, this best-of-three series isn't about them. Of the eight teams that have qualified for the quarterfinal round this conference, the inconsistent Bolts finished tied with Talk N/ Text and Ginebra for the second worse record (7-7) and only gain the 5th slot because of a better quotient. The worst team in the next round is Air21 with 6 wins and eight losses.

Despite everything stated above, the matchup carries some intrigue. Why? It is because this is a clash between the triangle offense’s precise passing and ball movement and the preposterous odds of upset for a hapless group of uncoordinated misfits with erratic plays. I would never plop down PhP 10,000 at a roulette table and bet it all on Red 3, but if you know someone who wants to do that I'd be more than happy to show up and see what happens.

I'm sorry. I’m a hapless Sta. Lucia Realtors fan who thought the Bolts will adopt the former's fighting heart and carefully designed defensive plays, but I can't get pumped up about the prospect of Meralco’s chances in the next round after seeing what Coach Ryan Gregorio has developed in the last two years. The Bolts are not getting the benefits of a doubt because they have not given their followers a reason to pay any closer attention. If a winning attitude is a big deal to the team, maybe they shouldn't be trading away young, cost-controlled assets like Sol Mercado. Or maybe we should see if they can seal a finals spot using the patented Gregorio one-on-one isolation play.

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