01 February 2015

Sunday Salvacion Can Offer the Bolts Specialty

Sunday Special
First game performance are usually not the best gauge to find out what the team really needs to advance in the standings or to what extent can the loopholes be plugged. However, if taken into consideration together with what has trended in their past games, the initial salvo has a lot to offer.

Analytics aside, the Meralco Bolts is expected to have problems matching with the other teams in terms of firepower under the basket. They may have outrebounded and outmuscled the much taller Barangay Ginebra to get their first win, 85-74, but it does not mean they can do the same with title-contender teams.

A heftier San Miguel Beermen, Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters and Alaska Aces will pose a very big problem for the Bolts frontline who rely mostly on their athleticism to get the job done. No amount of pushing, holding and jumping can intimidate Junemar Fajardo, Calvin Abueva and Richard Howell. The only thing you can pretty much do to offset their hardened muscle is to open up the lane, spread the floor and make sure that those 3-point attempts are on target.

The Bolts shot a very commendable 50 percent from the rainbow area against Barangay Ginebra (7 out of 14). The numbers were significant considering that the athletic frontline is doing a horrible job putting the ball inside the hoop. Cliff Hodge shot 25 percent from the floor, Sean Anthony 20 percent and Josh Davis only 35 percent.

On the other hand, Gary David made 3 out of his 7 attempts from the 3-point area for 43 percent, while John Wilson sank two 3-pointers out of four attempts for a 50-percent clip. However, what if both of these long-range specialist can’t find their targets? Can Simon Atkins, Mark Macapagal or Mike Cortez bail them out?

The answer is not certain, but to ensure high probability of scoring from beyond the arc, the Bolts need to bring in another tested player. They have to get back Sunday Salvacion.

When the veteran small-forward played for the Bolts during the 2012-2013 and much of the 2013-2014 seasons, he average 6.0 points per game. What is more important is Salvacion gave the team another threat from the outside that opponents will have to take seriously because he was shoting almost 35.0 percent from long-range for the Bolts.

Salvacion was traded to the expansion team Blackwater Elite during the 2014-2015 All-Filipino Cup to get the services of Anthony from sister-team NLEX Road Warriors. However, Salvacion’s shooting extremely suffered because he was forced to take the lead role of a young and inexperienced team. Even if his average score per game slightly increased, Salvacion’s reliability from afar dipped significantly to around 20 percent.

Before the 2015 Commisioner’s Cup started, Salvacion and a couple of players, including Larry Riodriguez were release to the free-agency. The Elite started to reorganize their team and opted to bring in young players from the D-League.

With Meralco Bolts, Salvacion won’t have the same responsibility as he has with the Elite. He will be a role player and somebody coming off the bench when the guns of David and Wilson fall silent. He can be a better option for coach Norman Black that what Ryan Buenafe can offer right now.

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