31 March 2017

Can The Bolts Break The Beermen's Curse?

Meralco vs SMB
Two years ago, the Meralco Bolts surged to an early 5-0 when they met the San Miguel Beermen in an out-of-town game in Cagayan De Oro City. The Bolts were in a good position to extend their winning streak when in the second quarter San Miguel's Junemar Fajardo faked Bolts import Josh Davis and made him fall hard on the floor. Davis tried to get up to confront Fajardo but fell down again. Without Davis on the floor, the Bolts fell to their first loss of the 2015 Commissioner's Cup, 102-86.

A year later, déjà vu struck again.

The same San Miguel Beermen has applied the brakes on Meralco's 5-0 unbeaten start with an emphatic 94-86 win. The game was also held outside of Metro Manila. Going down the drain in Ibalong Centrum of Recreation in Legazpi was Bolts import Arinze Onuako’s own monster game marked 28 markers and 30 boards.

On 2 April (Sunday), the Bolts are going to stake their unblemished record against the All-Filipino champion San Miguel Beermen. Many are wondering if the trend will continue or will the Bolts find a way to break the "Beermen's Curse" hounding them this conference for two straight years.

During the 2015 encounter, the Bolts had to rely on Gary David, Jared Dillinger and Chris Hodge to carry the fight without Davis. In last year's match, Onuaku pretty much carried the whole team on his back, both offensively and defensively.

In just a few days, its local players led by Baser Amer, Chris Newsome and Dillinger will provide the scoring punch, while import Alex Stepheson will anchor the defense.

So far, there's no basis yet to gauge the San Miguel Beermen's Charles Rhodes. However, he is expected add another layer of experience onto the battle-tested San Miguel, having played in a number of countries such as South Korea, Spain, and Turkey since 2008.

His career highlights include being part of the First-team All-Southeastern Conference in 2008 and also leading the Korean team Busan KT Sonicboom to first place in the regular season for the first time in their history in the 2010-11 season.

He graduated from Mississippi State and went undrafted in the NBA Draft of 2008. Rhodes is one of two Korean Basketball League imports this conference.

Supporting Rhodes will be Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter. If the Bolts can suppress the firepower of these locals, then chances are, they can finally break the curse that haunts them. Otherwise, they have to look forward to next year.

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