Meralco will troop to the upcoming 44th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season with a complete line-up following the complete recovery of three key players.
Jared Dillinger, Cliff Hodge and Ranidel de Ocampo reported their injuries healed after they were sidelined in the season-ending conference Governors’ Cup.
They’ll make it just in time for the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup which is set to kick off on 13 January at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Head coach Norman Black said the three vital Bolts are already practicing with the team, completing Meralco’s line up for the very first time in the past months.
“Jared, Ranidel and Cliff are all practicing,” he said. “They are all healthy going into the 2019 PBA season.”
With the Bolts as two-time Governors’ Cup finalists, injuries hurt their chances of seeking another Finals return last conference en route to a semi-final exit after a close series loss to eventual finalist Alaska.
Dillinger missed the bulk of the season-ending conference due to a partial tear on his quad and a procedure to remove bone spurs on his right food.
He was supposed to rest until further notice but was forced to suit-up unexpectedly for the Bolts as Hodge went down with a knee injury in their quarterfinal series against Phoenix.
Like Dillinger, veteran big man De Ocampo also missed most parts of the Governors’ Cup due to a slight tear in his left calf.
“Let’s hope they can avoid injuries which will give us a much better chance of winning games in the All Filipino conference,” Black said.
Dillinger, De Ocampo and Hodge will be joined by Chris Newsome, Baser Amer, Reynel Hugnatan in that Meralco mission together with rookie Trevis Jackson who was picked as fifth overall in the 2018 PBA Annual Rookie Draft last month.