SOLOMON Mercado’s first meeting with former team Meralco wasn't a pleasant one.
Mercado was held by the tight Bolts defense to just six points and, worse, he and his Globalport teammates found themselves in the losing end of Sunday Salvacion's game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer, 90-89, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-foot-1 Mercado acknowledged the Bolts did their assignment well defensively, clamping down on him with their tight interior defense that prevented him from getting his usual points inside the paint off penetration.
The end result had Mercado shooting just 3-of-14 from the field, while adding five rebounds, nine assists, and three turnovers in 33 minutes of action.
“My shots weren’t falling,” Mercado lamented after his first showdown with the Bolts since being traded to the Batang Pier prior to the start of the tournament.
“I think it’s a team effort (for Meralco) because when I came out for pick and roll, everybody was helping out. That’s what’s gonna happen from now on because people are scouting on me.”
Mercado was not the only one hampered by the Meralco defense.
Import Justin Williams, who has been the recipient of numerous passes by Mercado himself, was also held to just five points in 37 minutes of play.
In contrast, Mercado’s close friend Chris Ross put one over his pal after finishing with a career-high 17 assists in their head-to-head duel.