THE mere thought of throwing alley-oop passes to 'Twin Towers' Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter excites Sol Mercado as he joins the PBA's most popular ballclub.
“I’m excited,” a beaming Mercado told Spin.ph on Monday after the the trade that sent him from Barako Bull to Barangay Ginebra in a straight swap for Joseph Yeo was approved by the PBA Commissioner's Office. “Hopefully, I can fit in and be able to push the tempo.”
Mercado is the second new player to join a Ginebra squad that is undergoing a transformation since Frankie Lim took over as head coach from Ato Agustin, joining former San Beda Red Lion Dave Marcelo who the Kings acquired in another swap with Barako for Billy Mamaril.
Under Lim, Ginebra also let go of rarely used reserves James Forrester and Dylan Ababou for Barako's first-round pick in the coming PBA rookie draft.
Mercado, who averaged 10.6 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds in his only conference for Barako Bull in the Commissioner’s Cup, will be joining his fifth team since being selected fifth overall in the 2008 draft.
The trade also paved the way for a reunion for Mercado and the 6-9 Aguilar, who played together briefly at GlobalPort.
“Japeth has all the tools. When we were teammates at GlobalPort, my approach was to let him know how good he really is and what he should be doing, which is blocking every shot and be able to outrun the other big men,” said Mercado.
As for Slaughter, Mercado said last season’s PBA Rookie of the Year is a unique big man who make smart decisions whenever he has the ball.
“When it comes to the game, Greg is really smart. He’s already one of the best big men in the league today,“ he added.
But more than anything else, the Fil-American guard is excited to play for Ginebra fans who he described as “loyal and very passionate."
“Ginebra fans are very loyal, and they just keep supporting their team, which is rare. And that’s one thing you want from the fans,” he said.