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02:17 PM November 28, 2013

Looking at the Meralco Bolts’ win over Air21

  • They shot extremely well – 51.9% from the field.
  • Their three-point shooting was on the money 13-26 for 50%. In that incandescent second period, they put up 38 points on the board. That’s the highest total of any quarter this Philippine Cup besting the 36 scored by GlobalPort in the third quarter of their 114-100 win over – gasp – Air21 as well as Alaska’s scorching third canto in an unfortunate 97-93 loss to Barako Bull.
  • They made the extra pass that lead to easier if not an uncontested shot.
  • They took command of the game in the second quarter through their bench and showed no let up in the third period when the starters returned.
  • The Bolts shared the scoring wealth. They had five players (John Wilson, Sunday Salvacion, Reynel Hugnatan, Jared Dillinger, and Rabeh Al-Hussaini) in double digits as opposed to the two of Air21 (Renren Ritualo and Joseph Yeo). Wilson was in a zone all game long. Even after he was rested, he still came back strong.
  • Air21 couldn’t solve Meralco’s small ball tactics and play #5.


In the second period, I was surprised with their small ball tactics: Don Allado at center, Salvacion at power forward, Dillinger at the three-spot, Wilson at shooting guard, and Anjo Caram running the show.

At that point, Air21 still had Asi Taulava who posted up Hugnatan and found Joseph Yeo on a pair of cuts inside for lay-ups. But it wasn’t enough.

The Bolts ran this play (Number #5) with multiple variations and ignited their offense when they began to make their shots.

  1. Allado sets a pick for Caram.
  2. Caram drives from his right side. If he can beat his man (Wynne Arboleda) off the dribble, he can go all the way for a layup. If there’s help on defense, he can throw it back to Allado who has the option to shoot from about 18-feet out.
  3. Or Allado can pass the ball out to Salvacion who is outside the three-point arc for a long bomb.
  4. If Salvacion elects to pass, he swings it over to Wilson who is at the left corner pocket for a three.
  5. Wilson fires.

Sometimes, they ran a reverse of this with Cortez or Rey Guevarra on the right side of the arc and not at the right corner. They hit several shots on the reverse with Cortez, Guevarra and David making those shots.

The Bolts’ willingness to move that ball around and find the open man was one reason why they racked up that huge lead.

Wilson scored a career high 26 points to top his previous best of 21 markers during a 99-98 overtime loss to Rain or Shine last October 12; ironically, when he suited up with Air21. Furthermore, he shot 6-6 from the three-point line equaling the all-time record for most triples in a match without a miss. The other players to accomplish that are Simon Atkins, Renren Ritualo, Dondon Hontiveros, Vic Pablo and current GlobalPort assistant coach Glenn Capacio who accomplished that feat twice while he was with Purefoods.

Meralco was 0-2 heading into their match up with Air21 that also toted the same slate. Obviously, something had to give.

Between the two teams, the Meralco Bolts were right in the game against Talk ‘N Text and Rain or Shine losing the plot only in the fourth period.


Here’s looking at their stats and their opponents in two matches (before Air21):





Meralco 84.5 48.5 17.0
Opponent 91.5 53.0 19.0

Looking at Meralco defensively:



Field Goal %

Defensive Rebounds



Opponents Turnovers

Meralco 40% 37.0 6.0 4.5 13.0
Opponent 47% 39.0 3.0 2.0 11.5

Not much, right? I still think the Bolts need some work defensively. They just shot the daylights out of this game. This is one game where their offense won it for them.

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