(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fifth of a series of PBA yearenders where we recap each team’s season and grade their performance from A to D.)
MERALCO’S 2018 campaign was a rocky one but the Bolts somehow reached the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup. The Bolts also had an international stint this year, but only had 17 victories in the PBA season.
Injuries mar Meralco’s season
Health was an issue for the Bolts in 2018 with Jared Dillinger and Cliff Hodge seeing limited action and Ranidel De Ocampo missing 30 games.
Kings stun Bolts in Commissioners' Cup quarters
The Bolts’ best conference was the Commissioner’s Cup, finishing with a 7-4 record thanks to the play of import Arinze Onuaku. Unfortunately, Meralco failed to reach deeper when the Bolts lost to Barangay Ginebra despite holding a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
Meralco falls short in bid to return to Govs’ Cup finals
A finalist in two previous Governors’ Cups, the Bolts missed the championship series of the season-ending conference after bowing to Alaska, 3-1, in the semifinals.
Meralco had an impressive run of seven straight wins although it lost six straight early in the conference. Meralco also pulled off an upset over second-seed Phoenix to advance to the semifinals.
Fiba Asia Champions Cup stint
One of Meralco’s bright spots in 2018 was on the international stage.
The Bolts won just one game in the Fiba Asia Champions Cup eliminations but somehow advanced to the semifinals after winning over reigning champion Al Riyadi, 96-63. Meralco lost to Petrochimi, 79-74, in the semifinals before bowing in the bronze medal match to Seoul SK Knights, 91-87.
Is Ray Parks headed to Meralco?
The tail end of 2018 provided hope for the Bolts, reportedly set to acquire Parks from Blackwater, which picked the Asean Basketball League MVP second overall in the PBA draft.
Injuries were the story of the Bolts’ campaign even as the Governors’ Cup campaign salvaged what was a disappointing season for the Bolts.