Renren goes to Meralco

Last ditch effort to score former acclaim. 

Back in the 2007-08 PBA season, Renren Ritualo averaged 11.8ppg, 2.3rpg, and 1.5apg.

From that point to this point, that PBA season would be Renren’s best.

Sure, Renren would average 14.5ppg, 3.3rpg, and 1.9apg in the 2008-09 Philippine Cup but that PBA season ended with the Rainman norming 9.3ppg, 1.5rpg, and 1.1apg during the 2009 Fiesta Cup.

In the 2009-10 Philippine Cup, Ritualo averaged a lowly 5.4ppg, 1.1rpg, and a 1.0apg. Those numbers will lead him to move to Air21 in the 2010 Fiesta Conference, where he was once the team’s franchise player. Under Coach Yeng Guiao though, he had a rough time adjusting. Ronjay Buenafe got the nod rather than Renren as the team’s chief scoring option and the former DLSU standout was good for only 8.0ppg, 1.4rpg, and 0.9apg.

When he was traded to the Powerade Tigers, he could have become the team’s second or third option but he was only good for 7.4ppg, 1.2rpg, and 1.4apg.

And to think that Gary David became a scoring superstar because Ritualo left Air21...  

At this point, we can safely say that it’s the end of the line for the superstar status of the guy once known as the second coming of Allan Caidic.

Sure, let’s say that The Triggerman wasn’t really known for his defense either. But one thing Allan had that Ritualo never had was that “superstar-ness”. When Caidic moved to a star-studded San Miguel squad back in 1993, Samboy Lim, Hector Calma, Ramon Fernandez, Ato Agustin, Bong Alvarez, and the rest of the Beermen took a backseat and welcomed him as their leader. Caidic is a scoring threat, and a healthy one indeed, and the Beermen scored a bunch of titles despite the injuries and retirement to some of their stars. Sure, when Caidic joined Ginebra, he suffered the same fate as Ritualo but fact is, the Kings would often use him when the game is on the line because he is a very, very impressive clutch performer. Moving to Talk N Text was bad for Renren Ritualo’s career. His acquisition was actually the start of TNT’s head-to-head with the SMC Franchises. When Chot Reyes moved to TNT, he destroyed his rise. Reyes tapped Ritualo to join the Philippine Team headed for the FIBA-Asia Champions Cup in Tokushima, Japan because of his deadshot prowess but he was merely a reserve player for the squad. His confidence was shattered and it the rise of Macmac Cardona when he was training with the Philippine Team was another blow for Renren. For one conference, they battled on who will become TNT’s main shooting guard and since Macmac can slash and shoot, he gets the nod over Renren. You can’t really blame Chot Reyes because with Macmac’s rise, Talk N Text scored a championship. Also, Macmac can rebound and orchestrate which is another problem in defending Ritualo’s status.

Right now, Ritualo will join his fourth team in three years. Moving to the Meralco Bolts, he will have to contend on the fact that his minutes will be less, and his scoring options will be limited. Currently, the Bolts will have Cardona, Ritualo, Chris Ross, Sol Mercado, Nelbert Omolon, Gabby Espinas, Mark Isip, Hans Thiele, Yousif Aljamal, Bam Gamalinda, Shawn Weinstein, Chris Pacana, Paolo Bugia, Erick Rodriguez, Ford Arao and Asi Taulava battling each other for playing time, plays, and the graces of the management.

Taulava could be loaned to Smart-Gilas since it seems that The Rock would rather have international acclaim than PBA super status.

With the entry of Renren Ritualo, Ogie Menor was left without a team. But perhaps Menor could see himself playing for the Tigers. Menor and Ritualo were set to be swapped but Commissioner Chito Salud nixed the idea. This wouldn’t have mattered since both players would have been free agents. It just happens that Menor’s contract will just end this month so he can’t sign with the Tigers at the moment.  

Chris Ross and Solomon Mercado will try to outgun the other for the pointguard spot so it leaves Macmac and Renren battling for the shooting guard spot again.

However, perhaps this time the sure advantage goes to Macmac. Cardona was second in minutes for the Bolts where he had a team-leading 21.4ppg (only Gary David ranks better). However, Cardona had a league-high 5.1 turnovers per game in the Philippine Cup. Maybe Coach Ryan Gregorio would want another option just in case Cardona has an off-night. Gregorio still needs a player that can be his Meralco version of Peter June Simon and maybe Ritualo could be that guy. As it stands, if Gregorio likes Ritualo, then the other stop and pop plays once designated for James Yap will be at his reach! 

Or perhaps, Ritualo would merely be a benchwarmer for the squad. Ritualo has all the intentions to join the squad but will the squad give in to the opportunity he warrants?

Game over.


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