SOL Mercado has strongly denied that there is a growing rift between him and rookie Terrence Romeo amid talk that the two high-scoring GlobalPort players are "uncomfortable sharing the ball."
“No, that’s not true at all. Not true. That’s very false,” said Mercado when asked about the supposed 'cold war' with the rookie sensation and reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player out of Far Eastern University.
Mercado's denial came after a member of Romeo's camp bared that they feel bad for the rookie who doesn't get his usual touches when the two players are on the floor at the same time.
“Hindi siya napapasahan ni Sol eh. Kaya medyo nag-i-struggle din si Terrence,” said the source.
Even Romeo’s agent, Nino Reyes, admitted noticing his ward’s dilemma but refused to feed fuel to the fire.
“Napansin niyo rin ba? Pero no comment na lang ako. Mahirap makialam,” said the son of FEU Hospital owner Nicanor Reyes.
However, Mercado was quick to shoot down the notion that he passes the ball more to other teammates than to Romeo during games.
“I am not giving him the ball? Nah, that’s not true. There’s nothing wrong with us (him and Romeo),” Mercado declared. “That’s my man right there!”
The numbers in GlobalPort's last game against Barako Bull bear Mercado out. Although the Batang Pier star shot a frigid 3-of-17 from the floor in the 95-108 loss, he still had the same number of attempts as Romeo who finished with 16 points.
For his part, Globalport coach Richie Ticzon labeled the issue as plain ‘intriga’ that undermines the camaraderie and smooth relationship among his players.
“Ingtriga lang yan. Kung sino man 'yun (na nagsabi), mali siya. Huwag niyong pansinin yan” said the rookie coach.
Ticzon likewise emphasized his instructions are clear to give the ball to whoever is open.
“Kung may punto na hindi pinapasahan ni Sol si Terrence or vice versa or any of the players kahit hindi yung dalawa… ako ang unang makakapansin nun,” said the former PBA player.
“Saka matigas ang utos ko sa kanila - kapag may open, pasahan,” he added.