MERALCO is concerned about the present as it is with the future.
While the Bolts continue to fight for a playoff berth in the PBA Philippine Cup, they are also trying to put things in place for their campaign in the Commissioner’s Cup.
The team will be bringing back former Best Import Arinze Onuaku for the mid-season conference where it almost made the finals two years ago with the burly 6-foot-9, ex-Syracuse stalwart in tow.
Team manager Paolo Trillo confirmed on Saturday about the franchise’s signing of the 30-year-old Maryland native, who had previous stints with NBA teams New Orleans, Minnesota, and Orlando.
“It’s a common practice for Meralco to book our imports earlier,” said Trillo, who disclosed Onuaku has been signed up as early as last month.
Undrafted in the NBA, Onuaku is coming off a stint with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls in the Chinese Basketball Association and will be arriving in the country by the first week of April.
But Trillo added management didn’t want to make the announcement first as the Bolts are fully focused in their bid in the ongoing all-Filipino conference especially with Meralco still in the running for a berth in the quarterfinals going to their match up against Barangay Ginebra on Sunday at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
“We don’t want our attention to be turned away from our campaign in the Philippine Cup. Not because we’re down in the standings mean we’ll already be thinking about the next conference,” said the Meralco team manager.
Trillo said the Bolts remain very much focus in the all-Filipino conference notwithstanding the injuries to their key men Ranidel de Ocampo, Cliff Hodge, and Jared Dillinger.
Meanwhile, Vernon Macklin is another import returnee next conference as Magnolia is close to coming to terms with the former Barangay Ginebra reinforcement.
Team governor Rene Pardo said the franchise is currently in talks with the former Detroit Piston, who steered the Kings to the finals of the Commissioner’s Cup in 2013.
“Most likely,” said the Magnolia executive of Macklin wearing the Magnolia uniform. “Alvin (Patrimonio) is finalizing contract with him.”
On Friday night, coach Chito Victolero said the team was initially looking of bringing back Ricardo Ratliffe after leading the Hotshots to the semifinals of the same conference last year.
Unfortunately, Ratliffe, 28, formally became a naturalized South Korean last January.
“Naturalized player na siya, e,” said the Magnolia coach.