SOL Mercado’s heart was bleeding following Barangay Ginebra’s loss to San Miguel Beer in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
But if it was any consolation, he’s proud to see close friend Chris Ross rising to the occasion once again and ending up with a second PBA Press Corps Finals MVP award.
Mercado said there was no doubt Ross was the best player from both sides the entire duration of the best-of-seven championship series won by the Beermen, 4-1, on Sunday night.
The Fil-Am guard averaged 17.2 points. 5.2 rebounds, and 9.2 assists in bagging the same individual award he won in this same tournament last year.
“I’m proud of him. I love him, and he deserves it more than anybody I know,” said Mercado following the Kings’ 91-85 loss in Game Five at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The stocky Ginebra combo guard admitted Ross was not among the top concerns of the Kings in the title series - a mistake which they paid for.
“Our game plan was for him to beat us, and hats off to him, he beat us,” said Mercado of his best friend, who finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, 10 assists, and six steals in the title-clinching victory.
“He picked us apart,” added Sol. “You have to pick your poison, we pick him, and he made us pay.”
Despite the misfortune that befell the Kings, Mercado said the team has nothing to be ashamed of.
“I’m proud of each and everyone, all of these 15 players I’m definitely going to war with any day of the week,” said the Fil-Am guard, who was good for 20 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in the Kings’ final game of the conference.