Sol Mercado in line for return from long injury layoff in Ginebra game vs Blackwater
Sol Mercado joins a controlled scrimmage at Ginebra practice on Thursday. Jham Mariano

BARANGAY Ginebra gets a welcome a boost as Sol Mercado could make his season debut on Friday night when the Gin Kings take on Blackwater in their PBA Philippine Cup matchup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The veteran playmaker has been sidelined since he sprained his left ankle following a daring chasedown block on Jared Dillinger in the waning seconds of Game Four of the Governors’ Cup Finals last season.  

Mercado has already returned to practice and is on his second day joining controlled scrimmages.

“It felt alright,” Mercado said in a short chat with SPIN.ph after practice on the eve of their matchup that tips off at 7 p.m. “Coach might use me a little bit tomorrow just to start to get a little bit of a rhythm.”

“But not sure, we’ll see how the game goes,” he was quick to add.

Mercado later showed SPIN.ph a bulge on his ankle.

“They say it takes a while for the kind of sprain that I have,” the Filipino-American cager said. “It’s not a normal one, it’s the other way. They consider it like a high-ankle sprain, so it takes a little bit longer.”

“But it’s starting to get stronger,” he added. “The swelling is going down, so hopefully soon, I’ll be ready.”

Mercado, though, has been itching to play and relink with his fellow playmakers LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson.

“Yeah, man,” the 33-year-old combo guard said. “These guys always get mad at me, because I can’t just sit on the sideline. I hate it, so I always try to get up and practice, but just trying to be safe with my time coming back.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos