Acquiring De Ocampo a big lift for Meralco

October 09, 2017

A winning gambit.

This is the consensus in the PBA circle on the trade deal worked on by the MVP Group sending Ranidel de Ocampo from TNT KaTropa to Meralco.

They say it bore fruits right away with De Ocampo helping the Bolts get back in the PBA Governors Cup title playoff, and Troy Rosario improving as he gets to play a lot more playing time on the departure of De Ocampo.

De Ocampo, a six-time champ with TNT KaTropa, played stellar roles in Meralco's conquest of Blackwater in their do-or-die setto in the quarterfinals and in their three-game sweep of Star in the semi-final round.

Meralco coach Norman Black said De Ocampo's arrival was definitely a tremendous boost to their team.

"Getting a player of his caliber that late in the conference when you're winning games and playing well was a big lift for us down the stretch. Obviously, it's not over yet, but he's a big lift for us," said Black.

Ginebra playmaker LA Tenorio said De Ocampo's addition makes Meralco a lot tougher.

The Star Hotshots pointed to De Ocampo as the biggest factor in their semis series with the Bolts.

"Sobrang laki (So big)," said Star player Marc Pingris on what De Ocampo brought over to Meralco on his transfer from TNT KaTropa.

"Because he's a good shooter, he opened up the space for Allen Durham. He's the reason why we stuck to playing man-to-man. We couldn't afford to play zone with him there," said Pingris.

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For Star coach Chito Victolero, the De Ocampo trade turned to be a winning gambit for both Meralco and TNT.

"De Ocampo boosted the strength and weaponry of Meralco. And his departure from TNT allowed Troy Rosario to bloom. Rosario is now playing longer minutes and he's been playing well," said Victolero.

De Ocampo scored 14 points and shackled Henry Walker on defense in the crunch as the Bolts topped the Elite, 104-96, in the quarters.

In the semis, De Ocampo put in solid stats line of 12.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists a game.

And he could well be Meralco's matchup for Joe Devance or Japeth Aguilar in the finale.