BARANGAY Ginebra coach Tim Cone said NorthPort is gaining three quality players who will make a difference for the team in Sol Mercado, Kevin Ferrer, and Jervy Cruz.
Amidst talk about the fairness of the recent trade between Ginebra and NorthPort that sent Stanley Pringle to the Gin Kings, Cone felt the Batang Pier will be gaining a lot for acquiring Mercado, Ferrer, and Cruz.
“Those three guys didn’t warrant being traded,” Cone said. “It wasn’t because they did something wrong or they weren’t good enough or whatever. It’s just that we had to make a move for what we hope is an impact player in Stanley. We have to give up three really good players to do that.”
Cone attested to the defense the 35-year-old Mercado will be contributing to NorthPort as well as his veteran leadership.
“Sol has been a huge locker room presence in our team. He leads us in our prayers. He is the leader on and off the court. We think he is the number one defensively in the league. I know other people think otherwise but for us, he is the number one defensive guy in the backcourt,” said Cone.
Cone said the 26-year-old Ferrer can also be a big contributor to the team on both ends.
“Kevin is one of the great, young, developing shooters in the league. It was hard to let him go. He was really the key piece because NorthPort wanted Kevin. I assume that’s from coach Pido (Jarencio),” said Cone.
Cone added Cruz, 32, can really play his full potential with the playing time he expected to be given with NorthPort.
“Jervy didn’t get to impact like he could have and should have but that is because he is playing behind Joe (Devance), Greg (Slaughter), and Japeth (Aguilar), and just couldn’t get the time. But he is still young and he still has a lot of basketball in him,” said Cone.
“They are getting three really great players and three guys,” said Cone.