A LOT has been said about the absence of Joe Devance for Ginebra, but equally missed is combo guard Sol Mercado. Just ask Scottie Thompson.
Mercado was already in uniform on the Ginebra bench but still has no timetable for his return after he sprained his foot badly in Game Four of the PBA Governor's Cup Finals against Meralco.
And with the designated perimeter stopper for coach Tim Cone down, guys like Thompson and Paolo Taha had to carry the bulk on defense in slowing down GlobalPort’s cat-quick gunner Stanley Pringle on Sunday.
Pringle still got his numbers as he finished with 23 points and 10 assists. Though to Thompson's credit, he forced the former No. 1 overall pick needed 23 shots to get there. Still, Thompson can't wait for Mercado to return.
"Yun nga sabi ko kay Sol, sana bumalik na siya," said Thompson who once again flirted with a triple-double with nine points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in Ginebra's 104-97 win on Sunday evening.
"Defensive end, kailangan na kailangan namin siya. Sobrang nakakapagod pala yung role niya. Sana makabalik na si Sol," he admitted.
Despite going up 2-0 after that win, Thompson was far from satisfied with how they performed as they trailed the Terrence Romeo-less Batang Pier by nine entering the fourth period.
The Gin Kings managed to turn the game around though and Thompson came up with the dagger, hitting rookie Julian Sargent with his signature spin move and lay-up to give Ginebra a 102-97 lead with over a minute left in the game.
For the 6-foot rebounding machine, they wouldn't have been in that position to win had it not for the energy that was given to them by the crowd.
"We didn’t play our best game this time. Pero buti nahabol pa namin," Thompson continued. "I think yung momentum, yung last six minutes nung fourth quarter, dahil sa mga fans yun."