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maybe the rumors isn't true that he's not hiding any potentials, maybe just a 2nd coming of cris ross, who accidentally is also in meralco's lineup .
Cardona has fit in Gregorio’s system like James Yap in Purefoods.
by Joaquin Henson
“MacMac’s our go-to guy and we set multiple screens for him,” said Gregorio who led Purefoods to three PBA titles. “Everyone screens for him from the small guy to the big guy. MacMac told me now he understands why James was our top scorer in Purefoods and likes the same role. But MacMac is finding out he’s enjoying passing, too. At practice, when the defense reacts to screens by trying to cover up, MacMac looks for an open teammate to pass to. The other guys realize because of MacMac’s ability to draw the defense, they can get a split second opening to score if they set good screens. As I’ve often told the guys, I’m using plays designed to make them succeed, not to make them fail. I won’t do complicated plays that confuse players. I’ll make things simple to execute. That way, we don’t misunderstand each other.”
Gregorio pointed to Gabby Espinas as his Marc Pingris from the Purefoods mold. “We want to take advantage of Gabby’s strengths and not ask him to do more than what he can do,” said Gregorio. “He’s very athletic and strong. He has very good defensive instincts and likes to play off the ball. Our rookies are coming along. Shawn Weinstein is a tough pressure defender on the ball. Bam-Bam Gamalinda has size and can play three or four along with Ford Arao. Khasim Mirza could develop into our KG Canaleta.”
On Sept. 24, the Meralco gym will be reopened with a game between Meralco and Smart-Gilas. That will be a big test for the Skyscraper as he shows his mettle against Marcus Douthit, Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter.
Aquino was the PBA’s top overall pick in the 1996 draft and played four years with Ginebra before moving to Sta. Lucia Realty, now Meralco, in 2000.
“We may not be as deep or talented as other teams but we’ll be out there fighting,” he said. “With us, it will be all about heart. When we gave out our practice jerseys, we made a big thing of it because we told the guys playing for Meralco is special. What’s important isn’t the name on the back of the jersey but the name in front – Meralco. We have a proud tradition to uphold. We’ll be playing for the company, Caritas and the fans.”
I was interviewed by a glossy magazine a couple of weeks ago regarding the Meralco basketball team of the past. Not to pre-empt what would (or wouldn't) see print but I cited two elements in the past Meralco team that this year's version should try to emulate.
1. Never say die spirit - of course, practically every team in the MICAA back then were considered "never-say-die" as basketball was played with all heart and gut back then. But what made Meralco stood out from the rest was that they had the kind of players and coaching staff who would never want to give up, always fighting to the end, just to snatch the victory. It's easy to figure this out as Robert Jaworski, already the heart and soul of that Reddywatts team, played the game as if it was his last. This readily rubbed off on the other players (Jimmy Mariano, Orly Bauzon, Fort Acuña, Boy Arazas, Geny Lucindo, Big Boy Reynoso, Francis Arnaiz, etc.) and became known for giving their all in every game. Crispa wouldn't get a similar citation as half of their team got suspended for alleged game-fixing (Jun Papa, Danny Florencio, Billy Abarrientos, Boy Kutch, Epoy Alcantara, Rudy Soriano and former PBA ref Ernie De Leon) in their 1973 championship series against Mariwasa which they lost.
And since Ryan Gregorio has somehow instilled the same never-say-die spirit with his previous team B-Meg, it won't be difficult for him to espouse the same principle with the Bolts. If he'll succeed in motivating Marlou Aquino to come out of his shell and play up to his potential (or whatever's left of it), then this team can easily replicate the success of their predecessors.
2. Glamour - Meralco was a glamour team back then, same as Ysmael Steel prior to them and the Toyota Comets after. It's not difficult to understand - they had mestizo players (Jawo, Arnaiz, Lyle Ross, Acuña) while Crispa had the more "masa" looking players. And although Meralco was equally as rough and tough as the Floro Redmanizers, they were able to attract the "colegialas" because of the looks of their players. Arnaiz was regarded as "crush ng bayan" especially since he was coming from the elite school Ateneo, while Jaworski was already regarded as the most popular MICAA player of that time. They also played the run-and-gun with so much finesse and pizzazz, emanating from the highly popular baseball pass from their imports to a fastbreaking Arnaiz or Jaworski.
This is one area that the present Meralco has to work on to be able to approximate the success of their predecessors. The original glamour team of the PBA was Toyota of course, followed by Purefoods. Ginebra and Crispa were known more as 'mass-based' teams although both were equally, if not, more popular. If Meralco would want to earn the recognition of being the league's third most glamorous team, then they have their work cut out for them. They have to endear themselves to the fans, first and foremost, whether through their style of play, or through the kind of players they secure. Nowadays, to be branded as 'glamorous,' the quickest way to do so is to secure top collegiate players from exclusive schools who're not only talented but equally goodlooking. Perhaps, if they can latch upon Chris Tiu, Dylan Ababou and the other SMART-Gilas players by 2012, they may be able to achieve this.
I just finished changing the theme of my previous blog (Sta. Lucia Realtors) to one that supports the Meralco Bolts.
It took some time to convince my self that I should root for this new team even if my fave players (yeo, williams and ryan reyes) are not there anymore. Worse, I'm not a keen believer of Gregorio's style of coaching and will probably never will. My only consolation when coaching is concerned is Boyet Fernandez is still there and, hopefully, his designs and defensive strategies will rub off the others.
I'm convinced that with Cardona, Weinstein and Taulava in the fold, they can compete with the powerhouse teams and could even contend in the semis or finals this year. Some of the pieces are still lacking, but they still have enough time to get some guys in through trades.
I'll try to support the Bolts through my blog just like what I did to the Realtors awhile back and will welcome many of your suggestions in improving the site.
BOLTS win 71-67......An almost fight between Marlou and Doughtit...
Bolts frontcourt is huge...No flashes of brilliance seen on the rookie Weinstein.....
pero may point siya. hindi kaya ipatong lang iyan sa binabayaran natin. although siguro hindi naman pera ni MVP ginagamit diyan pakiramdam ko not ng Meralco