THE year 2020 is filled with heartaches, but the season wasn't so bad for the Meralco Bolts, who savored their best Philippine Cup campaign in franchise history.
Here's how Meralco's season went in 2020.
Meralco bows to Ginebra in finals
The Bolts started 2020 with another disappointing finals loss to Barangay Ginebra in the 2019 season of the Governors’ Cup that ended in January. Allen Durham and the rest of the Bolts were unable to overcome the Gin Kings as they lost in five games. The Bolts also missed Raymond Almazan after suffering an injury early in the finals series.
RDO retires as a Bolt
The second quarter of 2020 saw Meralco bid goodbye to Ranidel De Ocampo, who decided to retire last April. Although his best years were spent with TNT, De Ocampo played from 2017 to 2019 with Meralco to cap off his career.
Bolts finish SMB dynasty
Meralco had a superb outing in the PBA bubble, finishing the elimination round with a 7-4 record to clinch the fifth seed in the quarterfinals, thanks to the performances of Chris Newsome, Allein Maliksi, and even veteran Reynel Hugnatan. Even players such as Cliff Hodge, Baser Amer, and Aaron Black, head coach Norman Black’s son, had their moments in the Philippine Cup. The highlight of the bubble for the Bolts was their quarterfinal upset of San Miguel to end the Beermen’s run of five consecutive Philippine Cup crowns. The Bolts overhauled a twice-to-beat disadvantage in the series against the Beermen, first via a 78-71 victory in the opener. Meralco then dominated San Miguel from the get go in the rubber match to capture the win, 90-68.
The Bolts were not able to avoid controversy in the bubble as a shout by someone saying ‘luto’ was heard loud and clear by the PBA audience on TV and social media during Game Three of their semifinal series against Barangay Ginebra. Social media pointed to Reynel Hugnatan as the culprit, but denied saying the word days later. The PBA investigated the incident, but no sanctions were given due to lack of evidence.
Meralco season ends on Scottie three
The Bolts’ 2020 season came down to a Game Five when they forced a sudden death in their semifinal series against Barangay Ginebra via 83-80 win that was clinched by Raymond Almazan's crucial block on Stanley Pringle. Game Five was a nip-and-tuck affair and overtime seemed imminent on an 80-80 score in the dying seconds. But a finals seat was not to be as Scottie Thompson banged in a triple with 0.5 seconds left to clinch a championship series berth for the Gin Kings with an 83-80 victory. Another loss to Ginebra, another heartache for Meralco.