Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Friday, September 15, 2017

What does RDO bring to the Meralco Bolts?

What does RDO bring to the Meralco Bolts?
by rick olivares

The trade for Ranidel De Ocampo mid-way in this Governors’ Cup says that the Meralco Bolts are really going for it now.

As much as this team has so much motivation to win this conference, they know they have not had it easy. They still lack some pieces to puzzle. When they brought in Chris Lutz from San Miguel, people thought he’d make his return from injury in a few months. As it is, he hasn’t. And I can’t help but think of the lateral trade that sent Isaiah Thomas from Boston to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving. There is no clear time table for Thomas’ return. Lutz’ presence would have surely helped Meralco.

What does De Ocampo bring to the Bolts?

He brings with him vast championship and big game experience. He can post up, face up, and even attack the basket. He’s also an excellent rim protector. His ability to hit the outside shot will open things up for Allen Durham and slashers like Chris Newsome, Jared Dillinger, or even Baser Amer and Mike Tolomia.

He gives the Bolts a lot more outside shooters. There’s Lanete, Amer, Tolomia, Dillinger, and newly promoted to the PBA squad, Joseph Sedurifa.

To the point of RDO’s big game experience, he complements Jared Dillinger who won quite a few titles with Talk ‘N Text and Reynel Hugnatan who bagged one with Alaska.

However, they aren’t the only ones with championship experience. Baser Amer, Anjo Caram, and Garvo Lanete carted home a trunkful of trophies during their time with San Beda. Mike Tolomia pocketed a UAAP title before her left FEU. Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge – including Amer and Lanete – also have D-League titles. Amer, Lanete, and Tolomia have also won gold medals. Even Sedurifa has a few trophies from his time with the CEU Scorpions in the NAASCU and D-League.

It might sound like coincidence and not really by design but this reminds me of the time when Norman Black was coaching Ateneo. The multi-titled mentor not only got smart players but also those who have tasted championship glory in Ryan Buenafe and Eric Salamat (NCAA), Chris Tiu (Tiong Lian League), Noy Baclao (NOPSSCEA), Greg Slaughter (CESAFI), not to mention his complement of Ateneo high school boys who won in the UAAP Juniors Division.

Having smart players who know how to win makes the job a little easier because they have that winning mentality and they know what it takes to bring home the gold.

Imagine if Jimmy Alapag were still playing for Meralco they that means they would have imported three crucial pieces from TNT’s glory years. And RDO is as smart as they come. He may not be as agile as he once was. He might not be that player who would posterize you if you didn’t show him some respect. But he still gets the job done. That is why he is one of the longest tenured national players.

The Bolts tweaked their roster and it almost does not resemble the one that first took to the court to tip-off the 2016-17 season. The team traded away its draft picks in Jonathan Grey and Ed Daquioag. You really cannot say that Meralco traded away its youth movement because Amer, Lanete, Caram, Newsome, and Tolomia are young.

Whether it is a masterstroke trade or not has yet to be seen. But for now, RDO’s addition brings some excitement and a shot in the arms of the Meralco Bolts.

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