PBA: Versatile Bishop eyes championship breakthrough with Meralco

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 17 2021 12:45 AM

PBA Media Bureau.
Meralco import Tony Bishop in action against Blackwater. PBA Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines -- After a championship eluded Tony Bishop in a recent stint in Puerto Rico, he is now looking to lead the Meralco Bolts to a breakthrough title in the PBA.

Bishop impressed in his first game for the Bolts, putting up 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting on top of 13 rebounds in a 98-77 demolition of the Blackwater Bossing. Though the import has only practiced with Meralco for a couple of weeks, Bishop immediately showcased his versatility and defensive tenacity -- facets of his game that pleased coach Norman Black.

"Tony Bishop did a great job in his first game, scoring the basketball for us, rebounding, blocking shots, showing that he has a lot of versatility in his game," said Black.

"I think he fits in well with what we do. As long as we have good movement, player-wise and ball-wise, I think he'll fit in quite fine," he also said.

Bishop, 32, was Meralco's second choice of import, coming in as a late replacement after former NBA player Shabazz Muhammad had to withdraw for personal reasons. 

"Shabazz is a good player too (but) I'm thankful that it worked out in my favor, and now I get to play out here," said Bishop. "It is a good league, and we have fun."

In Meralco, Bishop has a chance to lead a franchise that has yet to win a PBA title to a breakthrough championship -- while also getting a measure of personal redemption.

Before signing with the Bolts, Bishop had played for Mets de Guaynabo in Puerto Rico, where he teamed up with another former PBA import, Renaldo Balkman. They made the finals of the Baloncesto Superior Nacional, where they lost to Capitanes de Arecibo in six games.

"We lost 4-2, we had our starting shooting guard go down with a hamstring injury in Game 3, so it was bad," said Bishop.

He is now looking forward to another chance at winning a title, this time with a Meralco team that has made the Finals in three of the last four editions of the Governors' Cup, but has always fallen short.

"All I can do is just come in and play hard every game, for me," said Bishop.

"I know the goals that this team had before I came, and I know the goals we have now. I just came from the finals in Puerto Rico, so I have that hunger and aggression to win a championship," he added.

"I know what's at stake, so I'm gonna give it my all each and every game, and try to win a championship."