19 April 2016

Unimpressive Bolts' Win Leaves Some Questions

Arinze Onuaku
So things might be going the right way for the Meralco Bolts after disposing their sister team NLEX Road Warriors, 104-92, leading to their only second semi-finals appearance since debuting in 2010. Clifford Hodge looked like his usual self for much of the game. Chris Newsome has emerged as a legitimate complement to Baser Amer out of the backfield. Jared Dillinger only made a few unfathomable defensive mistakes and was otherwise steady. Veteran Reynel Hugnatan has shrugged off early-season struggles.

But the Bolts continues to look exactly like a team ready to fold up and break up when the pressure is just too great. There is still something missing that puts doubt on the ability of Meralco to even be considered a team ready for its first Finals appearance.

The only saving grace for the Bolts this conference is that they were able to leverage on its twice-to-beat advantage as the number two-seed.

"It's been a great experience. We've learned a lot and a lot of guys have been developing. We just look at the positives and hopefully, continue to grow from there," said Dillinger.

But the developing has yet to reach its peak. They have not use all the tools available.

Perfect example of the immaturity of the Bolts play became evident in their unimpressive win against NLEX.

Right from the start, the Road Warriors strategy was obviously to double team Arinze Onuaku whenever he is in the low post. The bulky import tries to hand the ball early to those in the wings when he didn't have to, he could have screened off the defenders with his body rather than let the double team float in the middle to anticipate his passes.

In the second half, he had some timely passes and that's all good but about a minute later he failed to take advantage of the single coverage put by Asi Taulava and has the ball easily knocked away.

Nobody got it, Onuaku is big and strong and he quite likes to bang and hit under the rim, it seems. But he just doesn't do it often enough and anybody can only imagine how frustrating it is for his coaches and teammates.

There is no doubt that he still got mounds of potential and is a good big man pick up by the Bolts but he’s got to figure out how best to utilize the tools he has and he doesn’t often enough.

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