MERALCO coach Norman Black is excited for the coming PBA season with a healthy team and a new buch of rookies.
Black said the Bolts are finally healthy heading into the Philippine Cup with Jared Dillinger, Cliff Hodge, and Ranidel De Ocampo having recovered from injuries that hounded their campaign last season.
“I’m pretty excited about this year,” said Black. “This is the first time in the last four years that I have a healthy team going to the All-Filipino. JD Dillinger, he is back. Ranidel is back. Cliff Hodge, he is back and he is healthy.”
“I think that will give us a better chance of doing well this conference,” said Black.
Black is also happy with how rookies Trevis Jackson and Bong Quinto have been faring in practice and tune-up games.
“In the case of Trevis Jackson, he is giving us exactly what we expected. He is giving us an opportunity to speed up the game and get out and run a little bit more. Our defense has been solid the last three years but our offense always lag behind despite the fact that we are on the top of the ladder as far as assists is concerned,” Black said.
“We are always down as far as points scored. We want to bring in someone who could probably increase the pace for us, give us an opportunity to get more shots at the basket, and get more attempts,” he said.
Black said he is also pleasantly surprised with how Quinto has been performing for the Bolts.
“Bong Quinto has been a surprise for us. He is a very talented player who passes the ball very well, and can score the ball. He is a decent defender. I expect those guys will be part of our rotation,” said Black.
Meralco only won four games in last season’s Philippine Cup, but Black expects that the win output will be better for this year’s all-Filipino joust.
“I know we are not the favorites. San Miguel will probably be the favorite team. But at the same time, it helps a lot if your key players are healthy. Combined that with the players that we have in Baser Amer and Chris Newsome, and our two rookies who will get some playing time. I think we have a much better chance of doing well this conference,” Black said.