THE possibility of losing star point guard Solomon Mercado for next month’s PBA Governors Cup due to a right shoulder injury has forced Globalport coach Junel Baculi to consider the next best option – shop for a replacement from the free agent market.
Baculi said he’ll be discussing the situation with management right away shortly after Spin.ph broke the news on Tuesday about Mercado’s possible season-ending injury. (For full story click Mercado faces long layoff due to tear on right shoulder)
“Yan (Mercado’s injury) ang pagu-usapan namin with management para malaman namin ano kailangan naming gawin. Though may nakikita naman akong isang okay na nagpa-practice sa amin, si JR Buensuceso," said the Globalport coach.
“But then, we’re also looking at the free agency market.”
At the moment, Baculi said he’s got two back-up point guards under contract with the team – two-year pro Rudy Lingganay and rookie AJ Mandani.
Mercado had a tear on the labrum of his right shoulder as confirmed by a shoulder specialist in a recent checkup.
Baculi said it was tough to see a player of Mercado’s caliber go down with injury since the team originally thought therapy will be enough to heal his hurting shoulder during the conference break.
“If ever, siyempre, malaking kawalan talaga si Sol,” Baculi admitted.
“Sol is now one of the best point guards in the PBA. So if that (surgery) happens, we don’t want to put his career in peril by letting him still play,” Baculi related to Spin.ph shortly after the Batang Pier’s regular practice at the Moro Lorenzo gym inside the Ateneo campus.
A product of Biola University, Mercado put together impressive numbers of 13.18 points, 8.27 assists, 3.55 rebounds and a steal per game in the last Commissioner's Cup.
The stint was his first conference with the rookie ballclub owned by Mikee Romero since being traded by Meralco to Globalport in a multi-player deal.