SOL Mercado said the current run of Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Governors’ Cup despite having a depleted line-up is a testament to the system of head coach Tim Cone.
Ginebra is leading the team standings in the Governors’ Cup with a 7-1 win-loss record, assuring the Gin Kings of a quarterfinal slot despite absences to key players such as Mercado.
Mercado paid tribute to his teammates for stepping up and, most importantly, sticking to the system to keep the Kings afloat.
“They played great,” Mercado said. “Obviously, going 7-1, it’s just a testament to our system that coach Tim has. It’s kinda like the next man up. You plug any guy in the system, give them an opportunity to step up, and guys did.”
Mercado even went to the point of comparing Ginebra to the San Antonio Spurs in how Gregg Popovich is able to maintain their consistent play despite having different players.
“Kinda like the Spurs. When guys go down, their system runs the same. That’s kinda how coach Tim envisioned our system to be and that’s how it’s been. It’s a huge testament to our system, what we’ve been practicing, and also the guys who stepped up and took advantage of the opportunity that was given to them,” Mercado said.
Mercado is scheduled to make a return to Ginebra after attending practices this weekend. He could make his playing return on Saturday against Rain or Shine in a PBA out-of-town game in Lucena City. Aside from Mercado, Barangay Ginebra center Greg Slaughter has also been participating in the team’s practices following an ankle sprain.
“Feels great to be out there again,” said Mercado after recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus and remove bone spurs. “I feel strong and just ready to get going. Got tired a little bit towards the end but that’s normal. It felt good.”
“No pain. I worked really hard on my rehab. It’s just about getting the strength a little bit more, but it felt great. For sure, I’m excited to get back out there with my teammates and help them out,” said Mercado.