Ranidel de Ocampo refuses to see himself as Meralco’s ‘missing puzzle’

Best Import candidate Allen Durham and Jared Dillinger have high expectations on Ranidel de Ocampo in the Meralco Bolts’ upcoming PBA Governors’ Cup Finals match versus defending champion Barangay Ginebra.

But the veteran stretch four believes any expectations on his arrival shouldn’t be magnified, considering that the Bolts’ other new recruits this season like Garvo Lanete and rookie Mike Tolomia could help the Meralco franchise in their upcoming best-of-7 title series against the Kings.

READ: Allen Durham says addition of RDO gives Meralco huge chance to win PBA title

“Actually di ko rin masasabi na missing puzzle ako kasi di lang naman ako ang kinuha nila.  Kinuha din nila si Garvo saka si Mike Tolomia,” De Ocampo told a haldful of reporters shortly after Tuesday’s Finals press conference at the Sambokojin Restaurant in Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City.

The 6-5 De Ocampo, a 6-time PBA champion, has had a smooth transition to his new team since being traded by TNT to the Meraco via Phoenix during the tailend of the elimination round.

In fact, the former Gilas forward played a big role in Meralco’s three-game sweep of the Star Hotshots in their semifinal series last week.

But De Ocampo, ever humble, refused to take sole credit on Meralco’s strong showing in the playoffs.  He noted that any talk of him, along with Lanete and Tolomia, serving as “missing pieces” on Bolts’ championship puzzle can only be validated if they win a championship.

“Masasabi ko lang na missing puzzle at di lang ako, mangyayari lang yun kung mananalo kami, so kung manalo kami, masasabi ko lang na kami ang hinintay,” he said.

But that’s easier said than done, especially against a Ginebra side that ranks among the league’s top defensive squads, along with their tournament-best 25.94 assists per contest this conference.

De Ocampo said he has had his share of playoff battles with Ginebra during his days with TNT, but he intends to use those experiences and combine it with Meralco’s own notes to hopefully come up with the right antidote to dethrone the Kings.

“Nakalalaban ko sila (Kings) dati, sa TNT ako nun, eh sa Meralco ngayon, different story ito.  And tingin ko alam na naman ng mga teammtes ko paano kalabanin ang Ginebra, at tingin ko, sila pa nga magdadagdag ng tips eh,” shared De Ocampo. “But at the same time, ako magbibigay din ako ng kaalaman ko sa paglaban sa Ginebra, eh kasi pag defending champion, aiming ka for back-to-back championship.”

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