GLOBALPORT had just dropped its third straight tune-up game following its 84-87 loss to Air21 on Friday, yet a smile remains in new coach Junel Baculi's face.
His joy is understandable, of course, after seeing the team's newest recruit, Sol Mercado, find a way to blend with Globalport two other star guards, Gary David and Willie Miller, during the game.
"The guys respect Sol and Sol respect them too," Baculi told Spin.ph after the tune-up game at the Moro Lorenzo gym inside the Ateneo campus.
"Ang maganda pa dito, the bench was very happy unlike dati na parang gloomy. I see a very bright future for this team," added the new Globalpot bench tactician.
Mercado and rookies Kelly Nabong and JP Belencion joined the team from Meralco in a trade that saw the Batang Pier bid goodbye to Rey Guevarra, Vic Manuel, Josh Vanlandingham, and a first-round pick.
The flashy guard who led the league in scoring and assists in the Philippine Cup jumped straight into tune-up game a day after the trade, scoring seven points and issuing seven assists.
The Batang Pier also expect Japeth Aguilar, whom they acquired on Thursday in a straight swap with Talk 'N Text for Rabeh Al-Hussaini, to arrive on Monday morning.
Baculi said Friday's tune-up game will be the team's last in its Commissioner's Cup buildup as the Batang Pier focus on developing chemistry ahead of the February 8 opening.
Baculi admits import Justin Williams is not a high-scoring type of player, the reason the team is now surrounding him with several scorers. Williams scored nine points, grabbed nine rebounds and swatted away three shots against Air21.
"Iyan naman talaga ang role sa amin ni Justin. He's a defensive player kaya namin siya sinu-surround ng mga scorers," explained Baculi.