02 May 2016

Five Reasons Why The Bolts Are Still In It

Admit it. You didn’t expect the Meralco Bolts to put up this kind of fight. And we don’t mean extending the series to the best-of-three games.

We are talking about the Bolts almost heading to a 0-2 deficit — something that very well could have happened had Jared Dillinger and Chris Newsome not been just a fraction faster against their opponents in the last quarter of Game 2. They trailed 1-2 in the series, but as long as the ball is round, there is always a chance that the series could extend to 5 games.

Here are five reasons the Bolts have looked better than most of us ever expected.
  1. Jared Dillinger
    Give this guy tons of credit. He won them a game almost by himself and it should have been two. And he has been far and away the most consistent player in the series. Sure, he hasn’t scored as much in Game 1 with 12 markers, but even when he’s not scoring he’s impacting the game. The 8-year veteran is averaging 10.5 points for the Bolts, his highest average so far since the 10.7 points per game output as a rookie for Talk 'N Text in 2008.
  2. The Aces' Lack of Consistency
    This series would be over if the fight the Aces brought in the fourth quarter of Game 2 was even closely replicated at any other point of Game 1. For whatever reason, sustaining that kind of fight has been next-to-impossible for this team for any length of time. This is not to take anything away from Bolts, but the Aces could have made this so much easier on themselves had they just sustained their approach from Game 1.
  3. The Arinze Factor
    The Aces were rolling along through three the first three quarters of Game 2 enjoying the physical edge in every department. But in the fourth quarter, coach Norman Black brought Jimmy Alapag into the game and, suddenly, Arinze Onuaku was a beast. Black shifted his rotations a little so that Onuaku will become more confident in passing to perimeter players and, all of a sudden, all of the physical advantages the Aces were enjoying went the Bolts' way. That Onuaku scored 22 points in Game 2 was really just icing on the cake.
  4. Locking Down the Aces' X-Factors
    The No. 2 defensive team in the PBA this conference has managed to put a cloak over Chris Exciminiano's and RJ Jazul's offensive games. The two bench players were relentless in attacking the Bolts in the first game encounter and scoring 9.0 and 18.0, respectively. In Game 2,boths players combined for a total of 4.0 points on a 1-8 shooting.
  5. The Rebounding Power
    In piling up 9 wins and 2 losses in the regular season and earning the No. 2 seed entering the quarterfinals with a twice-to beat advantage, the Bolts were very dominant in the shaded area. In their two semifinal games against the Aces, they have shown that dominance and intimidating presence again. In the first game, Meralco grabbed 36 rebounds compared to Alaska's 29. In the second game, they had 48 rebounds against the 37 of the Aces. Coupled with a 41-31 advantage in assists, the Bolts could make this hard for the Aces.

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