TK the Analytic Writer: The ending score line was 101-85. A 16-point loss in the season opener looks bad, but I personally don’t feel that bad about this game. Let’s take a loo-
TK the Optimistic Bolts fan: OMGGGGGG CHRIS NEWSOMEEEEEEEEE
TK the Analytic Writer: …dude, chill down a bit. We’ll get to him later. Let’s talk about the game.
The Bolts played a solid three quarters of basketball. By solid, I mean that their offense was actually able to keep up with the Beermen. They didn’t do very well defensively (especially in that 4th quarter where they allowed 30 points) and the Beermen had an offensive rating of 112.0 (FIRE EMOJI), but I felt that there was a lot to like about the Meralco Bolts offense. The Bolts have to owe a lot of that to the newcome-
TK the Optimistic Bolts fan: NEWSOMEEEEEEE
TK the Optimistic Bolts fan: WOOHOOOOOOO NEWSOME
TK the Analytic Writer: Newsome was a breathe of fresh air for the Bolts’ offense. He was their best offensive perimeter weapon and he finished with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. His passing was really impressive and I don’t think it’s too much to hope that he might be able to handle the point guard position as well. Impressive numbers all around.
And yes, the Dunk.
Call it a travel. Tell me that the Beermen won the game, so it doesn’t matter. Whatever. This was the most exciting moment as a Bolts fan I felt in my short period of fandom and it has been worth watching every replay.
Sorry, Arwind Santos.
Another thing I liked about the new Bolts was Jimmy Alapag and it’s not only because of his 8 assists (but that really did help). Alapag was the leader of the Bolts from the get go and you can always hear him quite frequently barking orders at his teammates. With the Bolts attempting to integrate new with old, Alapag should be a great middle man.
Alapag and Newsome pushed the ball and we got to see the Bolts take advantage of a lot of fastbreak opportunities resulting to points, which was slightly missed from last year’s squad.
It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies though (of course it wasn’t. It was a 16-point loss).
It’s tough to bash a team for slacking on defense against a juggernaut like the Beermen, but the Bolts were slacking on defense in this game. 11 different Beermen scored, five of them in double-digits, and 62.2% of their made shots were assisted. There were plenty of instances where the Bolts collapsed on the inside player (mainly June Mar Fajardo) and didn’t rotate out to the perimeter on time. That will need to improve if they are aiming for a championship this year, which is still in the picture.
Another area in which they could improve on is their emotions. I love emotional players. Kevin Garnett is my all-time favorite NBA player. But if at some point it starts causing crucial opportunities, like the three technical fouls called on the Bolts in this game, it has to be toned down a bit.
All in all, it was a good first impression of the Meralco Bolts for me in this season. The Bolts have pieces to build around for the future (this is being without Baser Amer yet) and even the flaws they showed are fixable. I look forward to watching this team grow as the season goes on.
PS. I’m not mentioning Rabeh Al-Hussaini and his 31.9 Usage Rate and 33.3 eFG% yet because there were glimpses of how good he can be even if he was still forcing a lot. It’s only one game right now.