SOLOMON Mercado admitted it felt good to be back on attack mode for Barako Bull after holding himself back and trying to fit into a defensive role during his brief stay with San Miguel Beer.
Like a beast unleashed, the six-foot guard was back to his high-scoring ways against Blackwater as he led a second-half surge that put away a 92-70 win for the Energy in their PBA Commissioner's Cup debut.
The Fil-Am guard finished with 20 points, three rebounds and three assists - well above career-low numbers of 6.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists he posted for San Miguel Beer in the last Philippine Cup.
“I only had a couple of practices, so probably the biggest adjustment was my condition," said Mercado, who was sent by the Beermen to GlobalPort in a straight swap for Alex Cabagnot before ending up at Barako in another trade for Denok Miranda.
"Plus I haven’t had to play that style (run-and-gun) of basketball for about a year with San Miguel,” Mercado added.
The former Biola University standout accepted criticism for his 'passive game' with the Beermen, but explained that he was asked to stick to a role in an SMB team filled with scoring options.
“Every team I’ve been on, they wanted me to score except San Miguel because when I was on there, I don’t need to score really,” explained the 30-year-old combo guard.
"And I agree with the coaches and management since with Arwind (Santos) and June Mar (Fajardo), they needed a point guard who plays defense," Mercado added.
At Barako Bull, Mercado intends to be back as the take-charge guy coach Koy Banal wanted him to be, hopeful that he can help the Energy earn a playoff spot in the mid-season conference.
“I’m just going back to having fun and enjoy the game. And I might be moved again, we’ll never know, that’s part of the job description, but I’ll just go and play hard as much as I can and get the wins,” he said.