Following a grueling conference, the Meralco Bolts have several players in their injury list, leaving them with limited options for the coming PBA Philippine Cup.
This is why coach Norman Black has decided to shop for players in the free agent market.
The Bolts have recently signed Nico Salva, Nino Canaleta, Jason Ballesteros, and Mac Baracael to beef up their front line while resting their key, but injured, players Reynel Hugnatan, Ranidel De Ocampo, and Cliff Hodge.
"We're a little bit behind the other teams. They started a month or three weeks before we did, but we felt that we needed to give the guys some rest because we had a really long season that finished late," Black said in the PBA website.
The coach is open to give Hugnatan, De Ocampo, and Hodge a prolonged off time from the court while granting extended time to the new recruits.
"We're looking at the entire year. We're not just looking at the all-Filipino conference," he said.
"We wanted to get players who could space the floor for us. Try to make sure that the opposing team does not always double-team the post because they'll have to guard the outside, too. We wanted players who can create openings for our import."
Ballesteros had one season with KIA Picanto before being listed as a free agent. He was acquired after Meralco secured the services of Salva.
Canaleta and Baracael are likewise left unprotected by Blackwater and Globalport, respectively, paving the way for the Bolts to acquire them.
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