18 October 2013

Rebuilding Options for the Meralco Bolts (First Part)

Meralco Bolts Options
The Meralco Bolts are at "that" point in their development. They have great guys to fill out the starting card, they have proven bench role players and they even have young stars. All they need to do is add the finishing pieces to their roster, and we could all be looking at their first Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) crown.

This, of course, means that the Bolts do not have a lot of pressing needs on their roster. They do need to get a reliable back-up for Reynel Hugnatan at the power-forward position, and it would be ideal to add another few good bench players.

Reynel Hugnatan as PF

I was one of the guys who witnessed how Hugnatan vastly improved his game after he was acquired from the Alaska Aces in 2011 in exchange for rookie Hans Thiele and Paolo Bugia. He brought a lot of toughness and intangibles to the once free-flowing offense of the Bolts. From 6.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game with the Aces, Hugnatan averaged 11.2 points and 9.1 rebounds during the 2013 Governor’s Cup for the Bolts.

However, the soon-to-be 35-year old player will not be able to last physically for long in the shaded area against younger and taller counterparts in the league. As a 6’4” 210 lbs. banger, Hugnatan still brings a lot to the table to justify his maximum contract, but he needs help. The Bolts need to put him back to his natural position, which is the small power-forward, to maximize what he has left in his gas tank.

Rabeh Al-Hussaini as a Temporary Stop Gap

If Hugnatan is back in the power-forward position, the Bolts need to plug the big leak at the middle. Jay-R Reyes, with his still unrealized huge potential and very valuable skill set, appeared not enough. This could have what prompted the Bolts to acquire Talk ‘N Text the young center Rabeh Al-Hussaini, including all the baggage that comes with it.

Al-Hussaini is a medium-range shooter with the size to play center and great rebounding skills. While he is not an isolation player, he is a high-percentage shooter from deep who is also a very effective transition finisher.

After all, of all the centers currently active in the league, Al-Hussaini scores the most points per possession on spot-up shots, and he is top five as a transition finisher. This meshes very well with a Bolts’ offense that likes to take threes and run the break whenever they can.

There is only one problem. Al-Hussaini may originally be thought of as a quintessential "3DA" role player, but he also has a reputation for sulking when things aren't going well for him. If I were the Bolts, I will trade him immediately at the first sign that he cannot discipline himself in the court. No ifs and buts. Rabeh should work his butt off on defense or the Bolts will ship him to oblivion.

(to be continued in the next article)

No comments:

Post a Comment