06 November 2016

Coach Black Couldn't Be More Happier

Meralco's Picks
Not everyone knows this but, with limited options during the 2016 PBA Rookie Draft because of their standing, Meralco Bolts coach Norman Black has given up hope of picking someone of value.

Fortunately for the Bolts, lady luck continues to smile at them after giving them their first trip to the PBA Finals last conference since joining the league in 2010.

Unlike what some analysts believe, the Bolts are looking the draft hopefuls and trying to get a slasher who can also shoot the three. This is why they traded for Joseph Yeo in the first place.

Meralco is not hoping to get a big man or a center. They can manage their rotation and defensive plays with Bryan Faundo, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Kelly Nabong and Justin Chua. These four may not be the big names everyone is hoping for that could stop the likes of Junemar Fajardo or Greg Slaughter, but they are scrappy enough to get the job done.

What the Bolts are looking for are slashers and that'w what they got from the draft by choosing Ed Daquioag and Jonathan Grey as their first two picks.

"I'm very happy. I'm quite surprised, actually, that we're able to pick up two really good wingmen because those are one of our weaknesses last year," he said.
Meralco first nabbed Daquioag, the slasher from UST, in the Gilas round, before eventually lucking into St. Benilde scorer Grey at the seventh pick in the regular draft.

"I'm a little bit shocked that we got Jonathan Grey in the first round, but I'm happy that we did," remarked Black.

The rookies will definitely be a big boost for the overachieving Meralco, which pulled off a shocker in the season-ending Governors’ Cup before falling to Ginebra in the Finals.

Now, Black will have the two neophytes alongside Chris Newsome and new acquisition Yeo at his disposal as he tries to sustain the groove his team set towards the end of last season.

"We needed to draft two men, guys who can attack the rim and space the floor and we got two very good guys," he said.

The hard work, though, begins here as Black eyes to turn Daquioag and Grey to key contributors for this coming season. It will be a challenge after the retirement of Jimmy Alapag, but the veterans can step up and fill the shoes of a big brother aka mentor.

"We're hoping we could develop them the same way we did with Baser and Chris Newsome last year," he said.

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