DESPITE Globalport’s unraveling in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Sol Mercado still sees a bright future for the new kids on the block.
The Batang Pier lost for the fourth straight time in a 95-104 setback against Rain or Shine Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum despite getting a combined 54 points from Mercado and fellow stars Gary David and Willie Miller.
But Mercado believes the team, which sports a 2-5 record, has a lot of potential and given time, would be the contender it was projected to be at the start of the conference.
“We’re a good team and it’s just a matter of time...” said the 28-year-old Mercado.
The Batang Pier, according to the Fil-foreign point guard, has really yet to play as a solid team.
“We’re still trying to jell. We played without our import. But we came back and that shows the power of the team,” according to Mercado, who had 18 points and eight assists in 40 minutes of play.
Mercado also stressed the team’s fortunes do not totally depend on its import, although he hopes the arrival of new import Walter Sharpe would help Globalport turn things around with still seven games left in its schedule.
“With Justin (Williams), we were (playing a perimeter game) because he does other things great. He’s a defensive anchor and a great rebounder, but he’s not the type you can throw the ball to on the block,” said the 6-foot-1 Mercado, the fifth overall pick of Alaska in the 2008 Draft.
“In a conference like this, you need someone you can throw the ball down to get some baskets. Not a knock on Justin, but we need some kind of inside presence. If we only had someone like a Sonny Thoss, then Justin would be perfect,” he added.
In his final game with the Batang Pier, Williams finished with six points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks. But the high-leaping Globalport import played just five minutes in the second half as coach Junel Baculi opted to play all-Filipino from there.
“The thing is, we just didn’t want to throw the towel. With or without the import, we did show fighting spirit. We didn’t give up. We just kind of made some bad decisions down the stretch,” said the 28-year-old Mercado.