Roster: Bryan Faundo, Mike Tolomia, Cliff Hodge, Baser Amer, Chris Newsome, Garvo Lanete, Joseph Sedurifa, Anjo Caram, Jared Dillinger, Reynel Hugnatan, Ranidel de Ocampo, Ken Bono (injury reserve)
Key additions: Nico Salva, Jason Ballesteros, Mac Baracael, KG Cañaleta
Significant losses: Joseph Yeo, Jonathan Uyloan
EVERYBODY's tagging San Miguel Beermen, Ginebra, and TnT Katropa as the title favorites in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Curiously, only a few have considered Meralco Bolts, who have been a fixture in the playoffs while reaching the finals of the last two Governors' Cup.
Meralco coach Norman Black, however, doesn't mind. After all, Meralco hasn't really fared well in the previous All-Filipino conference.
"I really don't pay attention to what other people are saying," said Black.
"I'm more concerned with my players and making sure they're in shape, making sure they execute well, and from my point of view, I'm trying to give them the best chance of winning games."
It doesn't mean, though, that Black is not doing everything in his power to turn things around for the Bolts in the opening conference.
"But we just wanna be competitive, win as many games as we can, we want to improve on our performances in the last couple of All-Filipino and take it from there," he said.
The multi-titled mentor expects his wards to barge into the playoffs. But whether they will make the championship stage or not remains uncertain.
What's certain is that he has a rejigged roster this season with the addition of Jason Ballesteros, KG Canaleta, Mac Baracael, and Nico Salva. Injured Ranidel de Ocampo and Cliff Hodge are expected to return no later than their fourth match.
"It's really a question mark how well we're gonna do this conference,” he said.
"Like I said we haven't done well in the All Filipino conferences but it's obvious to me that I have a much better team this year than last year so I'm expecting us to improve. I’m expecting our performance to be a lot better than it has been in the past."