03 June 2016

Meralco's Best Five For Governor's Cup

Bolts' First Five
There is an interesting scenario for the Meralco Bolts next conference. There is a big chance that Mehdi Kamrani, Jared Dillinger, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Cliff Hodge and Allen Durham will start at the same time. If this happens, this will be the strongest first five on paper for the Bolts ever since it joined the league in 2010.

The bench will likely be fully utilized depending on how coach Norman Black wants the new set of combination will play. They can exploit their opponents with a barrage of shots in and out of the shaded lane, but they will also, most probably, be outrebounded with only Durham and Hodge capable of delivering double-double each game.

One variation that Black couple employ is to have Kamrani lead the second unit and have rookie Baser Amer or Anjo Caram join the other four players.

Bolts fans should not worry about Kamrani coming off the bench. It will hardly matter in suppressing the team’s firepower with the vastly improving Amer starting. And there is nothing to worry about size because Amer is capable of defending against any guard in the PBA right now.

The other reason why Kamrani should lead the second unit is that he will be capable of preventing them from disintegrating or short-circuiting like what happened in the Philippine Cup.

With Kamrani, Reynel Hugnatan, Bryan Faundo, and Ronjay Buenafe comprising the second unit, the Bolts can still showcase a deeper offensive tool box to work with. Kamrani can initiate the offense for himself and others, while Buenafe can provide a good perimeter shooter.

The Bolts were somewhere in the lower half in terms of pace last season, averaging close 85-90 possession per 48 minutes. However, they may have to play even faster to get the most of their athletic abilities and Kamrani's incomparable ability to push the ball in transition.

Another analyst suggested that the Bolts use "drag" and early actions to take pressure off of their half-court execution, which is sorely lacking. The “drag” action will allow the team to get early shots in transition, either for the point-guard – in this case Amer – in a quick screen and roll, or for the small-forward or power-forward off of quick passes set up by spacing the floor properly.

Regardless of the system, though, Amer and Kamrani should be just as effective in the screen and roll with Hodge or Durham. If the opposing defense decides that they're going to make somebody other than Amer and Kamrani beat them, and get the ball out of their hands, Dillinger should be able to make them pay.

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