A DAY after admitting that the Globalport coaching staff failed to remind the players to call a timeout late in a close loss to Barako Bull, Batang Pier star guard Solomon Mercado left practice earlier than the other players.
Was he sent home prematurely? Did he get a tongue-lashing from the coaching staff?
Coach Junel Baculi gives the answer.
“Masama raw ang pakiramdam niya eh. Pinauwi ko na lang muna siya,” insisted the Globalport coach. “He told me he was not feeling well, so I said: 'Sige, go home, baka mahawa mo pa yung mga kakampi mo.'”
Asked if Mercado's post-game comment was discussed during practice (for full story, see Sol Mercado on late-game lapse: 'We weren't told about calling a timeout'), Baculi was candid enough to answer.
"Alam mo, sinasabi ko kay Sol, he has to take charge ... he has to take responsibility. Siya ang point guard eh. Siya ang coach sa loob," Baculi said.
Asked if he reprimanded Mercado for the statement, Baculi said: “Ah yung statement? Is it against me or against him? Yan ang tanong eh. Babalandra sa kanya yun. Siya ang extension ko sa loob eh.
“He is my alter-ego inside (the court) … Ako coach ako sa sidelines, he should know na kailangan namin mag timeout noon at may isa pa kaming timeout.
“Hindi naman ako pwedeng tumawag ng timeout 50 meters away eh, he cannot pass the blame on anybody but him,” Baculi added as he recalled the final moments when Globalport regained possession with four seconds left and Barako Bull leading 88-87.
But Baculi was also man enough to take responsibility for the loss.
“Pero again, again, I will take the responsibility for every loss we have. Coach ang masisisi. I am willing to accept that, pero dapat ang players namin especially Sol, should learn to take responsibility too,” he added.
“Ganun ang point guards,” he added. “Alam ang responsibilidad at leadership characteristics.”
Asked if he already sees maturity in Mercado’s game and attitude, Baculi answered in the form of a challenge to his talented point guard.
“If he can already accept that responsibility, then yes. Kung hindi pa niya ma-a-accept yun, marami pa siyang kakaining brown rice para makuha ang maturity,” Baculi said.
“Kita mo naman yung mga point guards na nagte-take responsibility, yun ang mga nananalo eh.”