27 May 2013

The Wild West is Back!

Bolts Mario West
Mario West failed to bring the Meralco Bolts to the promise land in 2012, but he is expected to do wonders with the team this coming Third Conference after the Bolts overhauled its backcourt.

The 195 cm tall former Georgia Tech Athletics forward, joined the Bolts team last year during the PBA Governor's Cup to replace the sweet-shooting forward Emeka "Champ" Oguchi. Despite averaging 30.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game for 11 games, the Bolts managed to only finished at sixth place, their third straight since joining the league in 2010-2011 season.

West may well be remembered for his famous altercation with the fiery former San Beda Red Lion Ogie Menor. The Air21 Express enforcer landed a “vicious” blow to the head of West in one game after he failed to stop the import from driving to the hoop. Menor received a flagrant foul penalty two and was later penalized with a PhP 10,000 fine plus one-game suspension.

However at the final buzzer, the Meralco import rushed to the Air21 dugout to look for Menor, who thankfully was not there to avoid things from getting out of hand. He was said to be having coffee somewhere else in the area. West claimed that he was merely looking for Menor to tell him that “no harm was done” although a lot of the people who saw him rush to the Air21 locker room thought otherwise.

Born on 19 June 1984, in Huntsville, Alabama, West spent 3-seasons in Atlanta and 6-games in New Jersey Nets. He also played in the NBA D-League for Maine Red Claws. He last played for Tezenis Verona of Italian League and played 28 games where he registered an average of 13.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 assist per game.

At Georgia Tech Athletics, West joined the team as a walk-on in the fall of 2002, red-shirted in 2002-03, and earned a scholarship for the 2003-04 Season. He actually played a lot of minutes as Tech's point guard during his junior and senior years, while working seriously on his shooting and offensive skills.

He was named team captain during the 2006-07 Season and he proved leadership by becoming the Tech’s top on-ball defender third on the team in assists and second in steals. He also had an impressive 21 games with only one turnover or less.

Despite the ugly incidence with Menor last year, many PBA fans are confident that West is just the right import for the resurgent Bolts. He actually provides so much energy to an otherwise "tired" and "lackadaisical" Meralco team. West has help rekindled the fire in the eyes of veterans when he was with the team and it made them believe that they can achieve further and go deep into the playoffs. West is a do-it-all type who can lead the charge both at offense and defense.

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