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    Tim Cone won't rule out return of Sol Mercado from injury in time for Game Seven

    Oct 27, 2017
    Sol Mercado is a 'game-time decision' for Ginebra, says coach Tim Cone. Jerome Ascano

    BOCAUE,Bulacan - Will Sol Mercado do a Willis Reed for Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Governors Cup?

    The Kings are keeping Mercado's availability under wraps hours before Game Seven of the season-ending championships series against the Meralco Bolts at the spanking Philippine Arena here.

    Coach Tim Cone said Mercado, who sprained his ankle in Game 4 last week, is a game time decision, although he has spent the team's last two practices - including Thursday - on his feet and shooting basketball at the Upper Deck Lifestyle Center in Ortigas.

    "We shall see," was the curt reply of the 33-year-old Fil-Am from California when SPIN.ph asked about his status for the league's 7 p.m. season finale.

    Mercado suiting up for the reigning champion Kings brings to mind the heroic feat made by the legendary Reed, who made a surprise stint with the New York Knicks in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

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      Reed, a Hall of Famer and voted one of the 50 Greatest NBA Players of all time, went down with a thigh injury during the course of the series that kept him out for Game 6, and unlikely to play in the decisive Game 7.

      But before a stunned and excited crowd at the Madison Square Garden, a limping Reed walked into the court and join the Knicks. He went on to start the game, scoring the team's first two baskets - his only points for the match - to help the Knicks take control and eventually, win the title.

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      Mercado's condition the past one week has gotten well. He's no longer in crutches although he still wears an immobilzer.

      "But that's more of a precaution," said Cone of Mercado walking with a protective boot. "I wouldn't say he's a lock to play, but I can't say he's 100 percent sure he won't play. Most likely, he'll be a game time decision."

      Cone did admit the team missed Mercado in the 98-91 Ginebra loss in Game Six that paved the way for the league's first finals Game 7 since San Miguel pulled off a 'Beer-acle' in the 2016 Philippine Cup.

      "Obviously, we missed him," said Cone of the player who he has a love-hate history with.

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      Sol Mercado is a 'game-time decision' for Ginebra, says coach Tim Cone. Jerome Ascano
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