Ranidel De Ocampo in action for Talk n Text against Barangay Ginebra's Japeth Aguilar. | PBA Images

What does Ranidel De Ocampo bring to Meralco?
(philstar.com) - September 15, 2017 - 3:48am

MANILA, Philippines – The trade for Ranidel De Ocampo midway into the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup says that the Meralco Bolts are really going for it now.

As much as this team has so much motivation to win this conference, they know they have not had it easy. They still lack some pieces to the puzzle. When they brought in Chris Lutz from San Miguel, people thought he’d make his return from injury in a few months. As it is, he hasn’t. And I can’t help but think of the lateral trade that sent Isaiah Thomas from Boston to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving. There is no clear timetable for Thomas’ return. Lutz’ presence would have surely helped Meralco.

What does De Ocampo bring to the Bolts?

He brings with him vast championship and big-game experience. He can post up, face up and even attack the basket. He’s also an excellent rim protector. His ability to hit the outside shot will open things up for Allen Durham and slashers like Chris Newsome, Jared Dillinger, or even Baser Amer and Mike Tolomia.

He gives the Bolts a lot more outside shooters. There’s Garvo Lanete, Amer, Tolomia, Dillinger, and newly promoted to the PBA squad, Joseph Sedurifa.

To the point of RDO’s big-game experience, he complements Jared Dillinger, who won quite a few titles with Talk ‘N Text, and Reynel Hugnatan, who bagged one with Alaska.

However, they aren’t the only ones with championship experience. Amer, Anjo Caram and Lanete carted home a trunkful of trophies during their time with San Beda. Tolomia pocketed a UAAP title before he left FEU. Newsome and Hodge — including Amer and Lanete — also have D-League titles. Amer, Lanete and Tolomia have also won gold medals. Even Sedurifa has a few trophies from his time with the CEU Scorpions in the NAASCU and D-League.

It might sound like coincidence and not really by design, but this reminds me of the time when Norman Black was coaching Ateneo. The multi-titled mentor got not only smart players but also those who have tasted championship glory in Ryan Buenafe and Eric Salamat (NCAA), Chris Tiu (Tiong Lian League), Noy Baclao (NOPSSCEA), Greg Slaughter (CESAFI), not to mention his complement of Ateneo high school boys who won in the UAAP Juniors Division.

Having smart players who know how to win makes the job a little easier because they have that winning mentality and they know what it takes to bring home the gold.

Imagine if Jimmy Alapag was still playing for Meralco? That means they would have imported three crucial pieces from TNT’s glory years. And RDO is as smart as they come. He may not be as agile as he once was. He might not be that player who would posterize you if you didn’t show him some respect. But he still gets the job done. That is why he is one of the longest-tenured national players.

The Bolts tweaked their roster, and it almost does not resemble the one that first took to the court to tip off the 2016-17 season. The team traded away its draft picks in Jonathan Grey and Ed Daquioag. You really cannot say that Meralco traded away its youth movement because Amer, Lanete, Caram, Newsome and Tolomia are young.

Whether it is a masterstroke trade or not has yet to be seen. But for now, RDO’s addition brings some excitement and a shot in the arm of the Meralco Bolts.

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