Injury problem pushed the Bolts to sign Canaleta and others
The Meralco Bolts are heading into the league's 43rd season after losing to the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in the Governors' Cup Finals for the second consecutive year.
While the series went to a Game 7 after Ginebra blew their chances to sweep the series, the Bolts' latest setback against the Gin Kings raised many questions which included the question of whether the Bolts will ever have what it takes to win their first championship in franchise history. Will the Bolts go to win a championship anytime soon or will they settle for runner-up finishes?
Head Coach Norman Black is facing an injury issue with his players, not to mention the fact that the Finals series of the closing conference went to a full 7-game series- causing some Bolt players to feel exhausted after playing extended minutes during that series. Ranidel De Ocampo for one, missed the majority of that series due to injury. RDO did sign a new contract with the Bolts but we all know that he's no longer the same catch-and-shoot guy we all saw during the last few years. Even though he's a stretched forward, bigger and younger guys are emerging in the PBA and the Bolts need to provide reinforcements for RDO and company if they want to continue to be a competitive team.
Recently, the Meralco Bolts inked deals with free agents Nico Salva, KG Canaleta, Mac Baracael and Jason Ballesteros - all frontline players- to provide the needed reinforcements especially with Cliff Hodge and Reynel Hugnatan taking extended resting periods. This decision by Norman Black to rest his stars will enable the new guys to have bigger playing minutes starting in the upcoming Philippine Cup which starts on December 17.
KG Canaleta, for one, has been around in the league and has an established reputation as a scorer and a good defender too- something that the Bolts sorely needed. Nico Salva is reunited with his college coach so it's expected that he'll be playing more for Meralco. Both Mac Baracael and Jason Ballesteros can beef up the defensive strength of the Bolts owing to their brute size.
Canaleta et al will definitely provide more firepower for the Bolts. Now, whether or not these signings by the Bolts will give Meralco its first-ever championship is something that nobody can ever predict because, at the end of the day, one's consistency will dictate how far one can go, right?