19 May 2015

Kelly Nabong Brings Toughness to Bolts

Toughness has been lacking from the Bolts frontline this conference. It was obvious that the teams is having a hard time matching up against bigger players, like the 7-foot imports and 6-foor-9 centers.

There is no way they can survive the grinding battle at the post and emerge unscathed. The only player they can throw against the hulking opponents are the undersize and aging veterans Danny Ildefonso and Reynel Hugnatan.

With no immediate solution at this time, coach Norman Black opted for a trade that will bring a former Meralco player back to their fold and ship an inconsistent player to another team.

GlobalPort Batang Pier happily agreed to be the conduit that allowed the Bolts to reacquire 6-foot-7 bruiser Kelly Nabong (above, right)in exchange for 6-foot-2 guard John Wilson. Wilson was later shipped to NLEX Road Warriors in exchange for the second round draft pick this year.

In terms of point production, the Bolts did not give up much. Wilson was drafted first by the Barangay Ginebra during the 2010 Rookie Draft and average 6.2 points per game this season. The former All-Defensive Team member (2010) was expected to help Gary David snipe from the outside, but he just regress every year and shoots only 31.6 percent from the 3-point area from a high of 36.4 percent in 2010.

Nabong was selected 17th overall in the 2012 PBA Draft by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. He would be later traded to the Meralco Bolts on draft night.

This season, Nabong played a total of only 14 games and averaged only 3.0. More importantly, though, he can help defend the paint against bigger opponents and contribute 4.4 rebounds per game.

Nabong's toughness was made more evident in September 2014 when he he was involved in a brawl in a game against Star Hotshots or San Mig Cofee Mixers, the name they carried that year.

The scuffle ensued after teammate Marvin Hayes and San Mig import Marqus Blakely got tangled up. Blakely’s teammate Joe Devance shoved Hayes down on the floor, then he pushed Blakely. Marc Pingris came into the scene and exchanged blows with Nabong.

Nabong and Pingris were both suspended for two games and fined PhP 60,000 each.

With Nabong, Cliff Hodge and Sean Anthony, Bolts fan should expect a scrappy frontline who are not afraid to mix it up dow low and dive for those loose balls.

The trade was not consummated after the Commissioner's office returned it to the three parties and asked for a revision.

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