Sure it has been a really tough stretch for the Bolts with their three game losing streak, but they were eventually going to snap out of it right?
You can imagine how I felt when someone texted me that Gary David had scored 40 points.
“37-year-old Gary David scored 40 points! Finally, the Meralco Bolts score a win.”
You can then imagine my shock and horror when I found out that the Meralco Bolts lost this game.
I took in a deep breath and proceeded to HB stats for the box scores to get a better understanding of what happened before I had to go through the torment of watching the full game replay.
The Bolts 116.8 Offensive Rating was encouraging and the fact that they shot 11/18 from three point range was hopeful from the worst three-point shooting team in the PBA.
Gary David was unstoppable and shot 14/21 (66.7%) from the field along with 7/9 from downtown and perfect from the free throw line. 40 points!
And the Bolts still lost. Talk about a waste of going to the fountain of eternal youth for David.
Before we move into the more depressing stuff of this loss, I must say that the Bolts defense is looking slightly a bit better. Most of the game was Gary D scoring his mind out, but in other instances, you got to see Chris Newsome continue to be a really good passer and a couple of good ball rotations here an there. The individual talent to turn this into a really good offensive team is there, but it might take some more time to get there.
Now…about that defense.
The Bolts were entering this game with a 107.6 Defensive Rating which was easily the worst in the PBA. It was actually so bad that going up against the Barako Bull which had the worst Offensive Rating in the League at 90.6 coming in meant that it had to improve.
Unfortunately, it didn’t.
The Bolts still haven’t figured out a way to stop anyone from scoring. Jeric Fortuna joins Brian Heruela, Jai Reyes, and Almond Vosotros as the only 4 players who have not scored against the Meralco Bolts this season. All of these players played less than 5 minutes and Jai Reyes played only 43 seconds, so it practically means that, if you play meaningful minutes against the Bolts, you will eventually score.
The Barako Bull entered the game with a 90.6 Offensive Rating while scoring at a 40.6 eFG% clip. They ended this win with a 119.6 Offensive Rating and a 55.6 eFG%. Somehow, the Bolts defense seemingly turned the Barako Bull offense from the Worst to the Best overnight.
Josh Urbiztondo scored 24 points of 10/17 shooting and 4/8 from three-point range making him the first player to score at least 20 points against the Bolts this season, which is so random and depressing at the same time. Three more other players scored in double digits and the fact that none of them were JC Intal really saddens me. Willy Wilson continued his surprising start to the season (21.5 PER) and missed only one shot in this game and he really makes me wonder why I had so much hope for the interior defense of this Bolts team in the season preview.
Another day, another bad defensive outing for the Meralco Bolts. The El Granada scoring explosion was nice, but the Bolts can’t expect him to have that a lot of these games left in the tank. Their defense is reeling down, their offense is up and down, and almost half of the Philippine Cup is over while Bolts still have the same amount of wins they had at the start of the season.
For a team that many pundits pegged as a championship contender, this has certainly been an amazing turn of events.