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Lack of size an issue for Meralco with Almazan sidelined

There are a lot of interesting storylines for each team as we open another PBA season on Sunday, March 8. Several ESPN5.com writers covering the league examine and look at the different PBA teams, highlighting the storyline for each, heading into the 2020 Philippine Cup.

MERALCO BOLTS

Additions: Aaron Black and Mike Cañete (via draft)

Subtractions: none

Holdovers: Bryan Faundo, Trevis Jackson, Raymar Jose, Cliff Hodge, Nico Salva, Baser Amer, Nard Pinto, Chris Newsome, Anjo Caram, Bong Quinto, Reynel Hugnatan, Allein Maliksi, Jammer Jamito

The lowdown

Meralco will be heading into the 2020 Philippine Cup undersized and undermanned once more.

Raymond Almazan, who suffered a lateral meniscal tear in his left knee during the 2019 Governors' Cup finals against Ginebra, will be out for a few more weeks, according to head coach Norman Black.

Almazan's loss was clearly felt by the team during to that series as the Bolts lost to Ginebra in five games.

The Bolts usually struggle in the All-Filipino conference due to its lack of size, and the trend may continue this year. With Almazan, Meralco can neutralize bigger teams, but while waiting for his return, it will be a struggle.

Rookies Aaron Black and Mike Cañete are behind on the team's practices and have yet to report to the team due to their involvement in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League. Moreover, the two will only be able to sign contracts with Meralco after their MPBL stint.

Biggest question: How will Meralco find success in the Philippine Cup?

Meralco's success in the import-flavored conferences over the past years show that they are always one big man away from continued success.

Raymar Jose and Bryan Faundo will have to patrol the paint in the absence of Almazan, who was a good complementary piece to reigning Governors' Cup Best Import Allen Durham.

Chris Newsome and Baser Amer will lead the team, while sophomore Bong Quinto will likely continue to show flashes of brilliance with a full season under his belt.