Currently a contender for the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup crown, the Meralco Bolts made a bold move on Monday after trading for veteran forward Ranidel de Ocampo in a three-team deal involving sister team TNT and Phoenix.
The former Gilas Pilipinas stalwart was acquired by the Bolts from the Fuel Masters who earlier nabbed De Ocampo from TNT in exchange for Norbert Torres and a 2017 first round pick.
The Fuel Masters then shipped the veteran stretch four to the Bolts for center Justin Chua and their 2017 first round pick.
Phoenix also sent Chua to TNT in exchange for a 2019 second round pick.
Getting a player like De Ocampo is a huge boost to the Bolts, according to coach Norman Black.
“We’re doing well this conference even without Ranidel. What more if we will have him?” said Black who once coached TNT.
“He played for me before, so I know what he can bring to the table. More than his experience and his skill set, we felt that we need more floor spacers so that any time Allen Durham gets double teamed, we have people who can shoot from the perimeter and that’s one of the things Ranidel can provide for us.”
De Ocampo will also help Meralco when it plays without an import. In the past two Philippine Cups, the Bolts finished at the bottom of the standings.
“We didn’t do well in the last two all-Filipino tournaments and we felt that we need to strengthen our frontline to improve our chances in the all-Filipino,” Black said.
“Looking at the coming rookie draft, we’re picking No.7 if the draft is to be held this time, and we felt there’s nobody better than Ranidel at the no.7 pick.”