NOT a few fans have been left perplexed by the recent trade pulled off Barangay Ginebra, which shipped Joseph Yeo to Barako Bull for fellow guard Sol Mercado.
Knowledgeable fans are fully aware that Ginebra owns one of the most talented rosters in the PBA on paper, with players not lacking in height, speed, and shooting. But they also know the lineup is imbalanced, with a platoon of guards who - as haters like to say - is enough to form a security agency.
So if it was new coach Frankie Lim's aim to correct that imbalance, he could've probably swapped Yeo for a forward or a 'four' or a center. But no, the Ginebra coach instead went for Mercado, who is not only a guard like Yeo but also more or less plays like Yeo.
Pressed for an answer, Lim revealed the one reason he traded for Mercado, saying that Mercado is a two-way player who he can depend on on defense.
In essence, Lim said Mercado can do the things Yeo can do - plus he can also defend.
“Mahirap naman magkaroon ng comparison, but it’s just that we need Sol dahil alam mo naman, si Sol, he’s a tough defender, plus he can also score and push the ball as well just like Joseph,” Lim told Spin.ph.
“But I think pagdating sa defensive side, mas kailangan namin si Sol,” he added of the 31-year-old Mercado, who will be playing for his third team this season after splitting his 20 games with San Miguel and Barako Bull where he averaged 8.1 points, 3.6 assists and 3.5 assists in 27 minutes of play.
But doesn't he want to achieve more balance in his lineup, Lim was asked.
The multi-titled former San Beda coach said Ginebra's guard-heavy roster is just right for his system in which he wants all the players to run at every opportunity.
Lim pointed out that his point guard rotation will now be made up of LA Tenorio, Mercado and Eman Monfort, while veterans Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand and Josh Urbiztondo will be splitting time in the two-guard spot.
Import Orlando Johnson can play the wing or slide to the two-guard spot at times, depending on matchup situations.
Lim and Mercado will be debuting for Ginebra on Friday when the Gin Kings face opening-day winner Alaska, followed by a game against newly-crowned Commissioner’s Cup champion Talk ‘N Text on Sunday.