MERALCO is taking a giant step toward what it hopes could be the major piece that will take the franchise to the next level in the PBA.
And sadly, it meant parting ways with one of its top superstars.
In what could be the biggest shocker in the pre-Commissioner’s Cup break, the Bolts finally bared their cards and openly declared they’re ready to trade away high-scoring guard Solomon Mercado.
The stocky Fil-Puerto Rican point guard will be the center of a blockbuster trade that is expected to materialize Wednesday afternoon and bound to eclipse last week’s stunning five-team, 10-player deal.
No less than Mercado himself confirmed the reports that reached Spin.ph through multiple sources.
“Coach (Ryan Gregorio) told me I am going to be traded,” said Mercado, obviously still puzzled by the sudden turn of events.
The young sentinel was informed that he’s bound to suit up for Globalport and be reunited with Harbour Centre team owner Mikee Romero for the mid-season conference that starts on February 8.
A known winner, Mercado lets out some of his emotions but was careful not to offend the team that has served as his home for the past two seasons.
“I though we’re building up. We’re only a big man away from that target. Now I am being traded. But that’s business,” Mercado said in a sad tone.
“I don’t like being traded. I love this team,” he added. “I wish it may not happen like this, but everything happens for a reason. And I know God has a plan.”
Asked if he felt bad about the impending trade, Mercado replied in the positive, saying, “definitely, but I am looking forward to a new start.”
The trade is expected to be finalized and sent to Commissioner Chito Salud for approval when the PBA board of governors convenes in Singapore for a two-day meeting starting Wednesday.
The deal is expected to involve five other teams and a number of players, most of whom are marquee and above average.
But on the positive side, playing for Globalport meant revisiting Mercado’s owner-player relationship with Romero back in their Philippine Basketball League days when the Batang Pier won a handful of championships.
“I love Boss Mikee. He’s a very supportive and a cool guy,” said Mercado, who landed at Meralco following a similar trade with Rain or Shine when Yeng Guiao assumed the coaching job for the team.
“I can’t wait to win a championship with him (Romero) and my new team.”