20 June 2014

Coach Gregorio Has Ruined the Bolts

Ryan Gregorio
It is surely a rare situation when one man can be held responsible for the downfall of a franchise in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). But for the moment, until the Meralco Bolts produce a real basketball pulse, that is coach Ryan Gregorio’s villainous fate.

Things are now so bad for Gregorio that postgame quotes from the Bolts’ locker room no longer really matter.

Instead, we’d much rather hear from Manuel V. Pangilinan, wherever he is, and maybe read a few lines from resident analyst Quinito Henson’s game report, if he ever bothers filing one. Or perhaps an honest take from former Bolts assistant coach Jong Uichico.

In the absence of such meaningful feedback, there is only the guessing game left: How much longer will the Bolts’ fans put up with this? How much longer before the locker room rises in revolt against all the one-on-one isolation schemes, the failed pep talks and the incessant losing?

The Bolts failed to advance in the current Governor’s Cup despite trading its previous superstars to acquire what Gregorio thought to be a winning combination. We already knew this much coming into the 2013-2014 season: The 2012-2013 season loser would appear more lost than ever. And so it was, as the Bolts finished second to the last in the standings during the penultimate conference this season and created yet another crisis for Gregorio — who keeps talking about the “process” of “being whole” that apparently involves losing games.

How can a team that finished the previous Governor’s Cup at third place end up out of the playoff a year later despite having the same import (Mario West)? How can the point production be so dismal despite having the former scoring champion, Gary David, in the line-up?

That happens when the Bolts don’t communicate, don’t switch off screen-and-rolls and don’t bother to contest three-pointers. It happens when the Bolts come out of the pregame and halftime locker rooms without a shred of ardor, in what was supposed to be a passion play.

They have regularly failed to defend the paint or on the perimeter, foolishly falling for penetrations and dish-offs, lost in the land of midrange jumpers that have become irrelevant in today’s PBA. The Bolts have now allowed opponents this season to shoot almost freely from beyond the arc, on pace for an all-time PBA record that nobody wants. They get outrebounded, too.

Only Clifford Hodge’s brief push-and-shove with the players of Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and the expected insensitive response from coach Yeng Guiao kept the most loyal Bolts crowd from entering full snooze mode this season.

No comments:

Post a Comment