They also have Japeth Aguilar, who might make questionable decisions on the court here and there but should be guaranteed for at least one highlight per game.
But then again, Ginebra was the worst offensive team coming into this game with an offensive rating of 93. They were also dead last in three-point shooting at 20.2%.
This was supposed to be one of the easier games for the Meralco Bolts.
So it was only natural that they would be blown out by 25 points. I know the pattern by now. I’ve accepted it.
Maybe I should have seen it coming early on. Barely a minute passed by when Japeth Aguilar already recorded six points, including this flying jam over the Bolts’ best defensive player, Cliff Hodge.
That dunk probably set the tone for the rest of the game as the Bolts would still find it impossible at stopping the opposing team to score.
The good news is that their defensive rating is now below 110!
The bad news is that it’s still way up there at 109.7 and this will be their fifth straight game in which they have posted a DRTG over 100.
Greg Slaughter had a tougher time around the rim, as he would post season low in points (18) and field goal percentage (42.9%) but in a way, this was because the Bolts’ defense was allowing the other Ginebra players to step up.
Case in point: Nico Salva was named Best Player of the Game. Salva turned in 11 points. This is the same guy who had 11 points in the entire Governors’ Cup, 13 points in the entire Commissioner’s Cup, and 15 points in the entire Philippine Cup last season. Talk about defense, Meralco.
Slaughter didn’t post up huge numbers because he didn’t need to. That’s why he only played a little over 32 minutes, another season low.
They already looked bad defensively but looked even worse on offense.
The Bolts still look uncertain. It just seems like they aren’t sure what to do so they just drive to the basket and hope for the best. I mentioned how Ginebra was a bad three-point shooting team. Honestly, the Bolts wouldn’t be any better if not for Gary David‘s outburst in their last outing. Not having steady stationary long range shooters is obviously hurting the Bolts, which is turning out to be a team filled with guys who can slash but without anyone those slashers can kick out to. It just shows you how undervalued John Wilson and Mike Cortez were from last season.
For me, it looks like Meralco is still in a transition phase. They are trying to go away from an aging David as the go-to scoring option but aren’t quite sure who else to turn to.
The victim of all of these uncertainties? The Meralco Bolts’ ball rotation.
Was there any glimmer of hope from this game? Barely. You can’t really look much into a game where you were thwarted by 25 points.
But if we were to pull something positive out of this, it is that the Bolts are young, which is something we couldn’t say previously. They have their backcourt of the future set up with Baser Amer and Chris Newsome. But they’re still just rookies and that can never be easy for any team to play through. What we can look forward to is their development especially with the opportunities they’re getting.
That is if their morale and confidence isn’t broken completely from all the loses they will have to endure.
The Bolts will be getting another crack at breaking their losing streak against another team experiencing a change in culture and team tradition in the STAR Hotshots. We’ll see if that can be the game where they finally end the misery.