16 February 2016

Two Players The Bolts Should Let Go

Ken Bono and Ryan Buenafe
The PBA 2016 Commissioner's Cup is only a few days old, which makes it a perfect time for optimism, asset collecting and roster purging.

It's the latter portion of that program that the Meralco Bolts should be concerned with.

For every start of a new conference, all teams enter the competition in a different position on the league's totem pole. Some have nothing more than a few loose ends in need of tying. Others are clearing the remnants of a complete demolition and working on an organization-wide rebuild.

But no matter how the Bolts find themselves, they always have one concern: There's at least one player on their roster they should not mind getting rid of. In a lot of cases, the sentiment is significantly stronger than that.

Two players that top the list for the Bolts has disappointment written all over their the stat sheet. They also have something about them that works against their franchise. These players are Ken Bono and Ryan Buenafe.

Ken Bono
No matter where the Bolts go from here — trying to build off their surprise 2-0 start or fully embracing a youth movement — Bono won't help them get there. His numbers are so burdensome Meralco is better served looking for a reliable shooter from the rainbow area.

Compounding that issue is the fact that Bono doesn't really bring anything else to the table. He's neither a rim protector nor a solid rebounder. In his two games so far, he made none of his four attempts from the floor. He hardly ever moves the needle as a rebounding threat inside the paint, as his one rebound in two games showed.

While Bono can be considered a veteran, he has zero upside to speak of. He'll turn 32 in June 2015, when Bolts fans have to hope he can fool other teams in trading for him. A better alternative for the Bolts is to give more playing time to John Ferriols.

Ryan Buenafe
Anyone who's watched Buenafes' downward spiral after a promising college career with Ateneo de Manila University would have a hard time believing the 26-year-old once stood as a possible franchise player. But Buenafe was that type of dynamic player — a long time ago.

At this point, it's safe to call that the 8th overall pick in the 2013 PBA draft is a shell of a shell of his former self. In his first season with the Alaska Aces he had a promising 67.0 percent clip from the rainbow territory. A year later, that percentage dropped to 29.0 percent.

As bad as that sounds for the Bolts, it gets even worse. Buenafe is taking time from his uncle who is more a solid scorer than him, Ronjay Buenafe. The elder Buenafe is averaging 9.9 points per game in his career, plus a decent 32.3 percent from long-distance.

Making matters worse, the younger Buenafe is a roadblock for Meralco. The minutes he receives at either forward or shooting guard spots take away from the developmental time of prospects such as Baser Amer, Joseph Sedurifa and Chris Newsome. The Bolts need to be prioritizing their future, and it will not — or should not, at least — involve Ryan Buenafe.

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