Rainman Restarted

Renren Ritualo’s slump started when he was picked up by Chot Reyes to become the Philippine Team’s designated gunner in 2005.

Hopefully he can end the slump now that he’s back in the arms of Bo Perasol in Powerade.

Listed as one of the greatest players to ever play in the PBL, Florendo Ritualo Jr. was all set to embark on a noteworthy career in the PBA. This was one of the reasons why Ritualo was inserted to the Philippine Team. At one time scouts from the New Jersey Nets and the Philly 76ers recorded his games when he drained nine triples in one game at the Global Hoops Summit. However he was rarely used in the 2005 FIBA-Asia Champions Cup where the team placed fifth.

Worse, Ritualo was traded to Talk N Text where the new coach of the squad was Reyes. After a sabbatical from the PBA wars, he returned to the squad where Macmac Cardona has become a scoring superstar. Eventually Cardona was more favored in the shooting guard spot and his woes deepen with the addition of Jason Castro and Jared Dillinger.

A glimmer of hope prevailed when he alongside Yancy de Ocampo were traded to the Air21 Express in exchange for Mark Yee and JR Quinahan. This was the same squad where he became the Rookie of the Year, the Sixth Man of the Year, a PBA All-Star, and the first local player in PBA history to have four games with at least eight treys in each of those games.

However this is not the same Air21 team he was once starred in. Gone were the days where he would just perch in the 3-point zone. He is also required to play scrappy defense now, especially with Yeng Guiao at the helm. While he improved his average, his output was still below of what he was doing before his confidence was shattered. Besides, Guiao favored his "mentored players" more and with Ronjay Buenafe, Leo Najorda and Ronnie Matias, Ritualo was expendable.

For a swap of two draft picks, he was shipped to the Powerade Tigers alongside the 2010 Draft’s sixth pick overall Sean Anthony. At least now he will be playing with a coach that would use him well in Perasol. However, when Perasol became Air21’s coach, his minutes were slowly getting eased because of the emergence of Gary David – the current starting shooting guard of the squad. The consolation for Ritualo is it’s easier for him to play with the Tigers than with the Express. Ritualo’s entry will beef up the SG/SF position of Powerade that is currently starred by David, Mark Macapagal, Will Antonio, Rodney Santos, Francis Allera, Paolo Mendoza and the vastly improved RJ Rizada. Anthony is also expected to fit the bill and the likes of Ronjay Enrile, Dale Singson, Jai Reyes, and Chico Lanete are also what-ifs in those spots.

One challenge for Perasol is that he needs to make Ritualo think that he is still the best gunner in the league. This means he has to slowly build his confidence just like the high it had when he was averaging almost 20 points per game.

Hopefully Powerade can find a talented point guard to start for their franchise since it is the only thing they need at the moment. With David, Ritualo, Dennis Espino, and Asi Taulava, the Powerade Tigers seems to be a strong squad.

And if Ritualo regains his confidence, expect the Tigers to aggressive claw their way to the top.

Game over.


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