GLOBALPORT point guard Sol Mercado faces his former team Meralco for the first time in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup when the Batang Pier and Bolts collide on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mercado has been playing his best basketball this season and the trade to Globalport prior to the start of the conference has not slowed his momentum.
He averages a double-double of 15.5 points and a career-high 11 assists in 38.5 minutes of play since joining the Batang Pier this conference as the main piece in a multi-player deal.
The 6-foot-1 guard out of Biola University led the league in both scoring and assists in the Philippine Cup in what turned out to be his final season with the Bolts.
Batang Pier coach Junel Baculi, however, wants his team not to be too reliant on the production of Mercado and fellow starters Justin Williams, Gary David, Japeth Aguilar, and Willie Miller who are averaging a combined 72.8 points per game, or about 90 percent of Globalport’s 87.5 points per game output.
“We need to rely on our people coming off the bench. Of course, when our starters are off, it’s their (reserves’) duty to fill in their shoes,” explained Baculi.
Gametime is at 4:15 p.m.
Williams has not been the high-scoring type of import, but he makes up for it by topping the league in both rebounds (20) and blocks (4.25) while averaging 37.5 minutes of play per contest.
The Bolts are on a skid of late, losing their last three assignments, including a heartbreaking 86-88 loss to the Petron Boosters in their last game that saw Meralco fall short after rallying back from as much as a 22-point fourth quarter deficit.
“It’s gonna be a struggle for us to win on a consistent basis but as long as we have the effort, we have a chance to win,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.