GLOBALport star Willie Miller believes he can coexist with new teammate Sol Mercado.
Both scoring guards who are effective when the ball is in their hands, Miller and Mercado are coming off impressive individual performances in the recent PBA Philippine Cup.
Miller averaged an all-around 16.7 points -- his best scoring output since the 2007-08 season when he normed a career-best 20.7 points for Alaska -- 6.2 assists, and 6.2 rebounds in a league-leading 37.1 minutes of play for the Batang Pier.
Mercado, on the other hand, led the league in scoring (19.2 points) and assists (6.7), while adding 2.8 rebounds, and one steal in 35 minutes while still with Meralco.
But can both remain as effective playing for the same team?
In response to team owner Mikee Romero’s challenge to his team about “sharing the ball” during the official press launch of the new-look Batang Pier ahead of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Miller said he is ready to step aside as the team’s primary ball handler.
“Yeah, I think so. With Sol around, he’s gonna be the best creator of the team so mas maganda,” said Miller, who finished second behind Mercado in the assists department last conference. “Mas matulin, mas bata (siya) so mas maganda taga-abang kami ni Gary (David) ng pasa.”
“Sol is best known for that, maka-break down ng one-on-one defense,” he added. “So kami ngayon, mapapadali trabaho namin ni Gary na more on catch and shoot.”
The two-time MVP from Olongapo even welcomes the change in his role with the team, hoping it will translate to wins for his rejigged squad, which floundered with 13 losses in 14 elimination-round games in the league debut in the Philippine Cup.
“Walang problema sa ganun,” the 35-year-old Letran product said. “Sabi ko nga eh, sa tanda ko na, hindi kailangan maging superstar. Ang kailangan ay manalo.”
“Hindi katulad last conference, maganda nga ginagawa ko, talo naman, so hindi masarap sa pakiramdam," he added.
Even if he finishes well below his scoring average, Miller would be fulfilled as long as the Batang Pier end up with a win.
“Parati kong sinasabi sa team namin, kahit sinong maka-shoot sa atin basta panalo. Kung two points lang ako, okay lang, basta panalo tayo,” Miller said. ‘
“Yun ang masarap na pakiramdam: lahat tayo masaya, hindi yung may feeling ka na maganda laro ko pero talo pa rin, hindi kumpleto.”