SOL Mercado has plenty of supporters – even from the family of former fiancé Denise Laurel.
The Ginebra playmaker thanked the support of Ginebra fans and his own followers after they pulled a game back in their PBA Philippine Cup series against Star with a 73-62 win in Game Three on Monday night. Curiously, he included Laurel’s mother, Ruby, for her undying support to him and the Gin Kings in the post-game TV interview.
“She prays for us every game,” Mercado said in a short chat with SPIN.ph after the game. “She means a lot to me, her and Bookie. They pray for our team. And I’m a man of faith and I really believe God answers prayers.”
“It means a lot for her to be able to do that, so I got to give her credit. And give God all the glory,” he added.
Mercado starred for the Gin Kings with a game-high 16 points, including two three-pointers at crunch time that proved to be the daggers for his team.
But the Filipino-American point guard deflected to their team defense for limiting the Hotshots to their lowest output by any team over the last five conferences.
“It's a collective effort,” Mercado said. “I think it was really our defense that won us the game. I mean, we held them to twenty-nine percent shooting, so credit to our team defense.”
Mercado particularly shadowed Pau Lee, who was held to just seven points on 3-of-13 shooting after averaging 17.5 points in the first two games.
“I mean, that was an adjustment that coach made, but like I said, it's collective effort and team defense,” Mercado insisted. “I just tried to get in his space, and give him tough looks. He hit a couple of tough shots but just try to limit his touches and give him tough looks.
“He's key to their team, as you can see with the first two games. So definitely, you'd want to take pride in that,” he added.
But Mercado reminded his team to not get ahead of themselves.
“We haven't done anything yet,” he said. “I mean, we gotta win three more, so one game at a time. We know that they're gonna come back, and the next one is a must-win as well.”