PBA: Mercado rues Ginebra's costly fouls in NLEX loss | Inquirer Sports

PBA: Mercado rues Ginebra’s costly fouls in NLEX loss

/ 07:14 PM February 13, 2016

Ginebra's Sol Mercado and LA Tenorio react to a play. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Ginebra’s Sol Mercado and LA Tenorio react to a play. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Ginebra pulled all the right stops at the start but came up short in the end and still succumbed to Al Thornton and NLEX, 114-112, in overtime to begin their 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign.

It was a valiant effort for Ginebra, which had to play the game without Greg Slaughter, who was out for measles, for the entire game and key cogs Japeth Aguilar and Chris Ellis, who fouled out, in the clutch.

Sol Mercado, who was one of the leaders in that game, rued the silly mistakes that his team committed
in the end.

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“Bad fouls,” he said. “We put them on the line too much. We didn’t make them work enough for their shots down the stretch. We were in the penalty and we put them on the line.”

Ginebra gave up 37 fouls which gifted NLEX 30 points out of 42 attempts. Thornton accounted for 16 of those, missing just four from the charity stripe en route to a PBA career-high-tying 50 points.

“He hit some very tough shots, but I think we bailed him out and put him on the line too many times rather than making him take tough shots,” said Mercado. “We’re OK with him making tough shots. It’s the easy shots that we don’t want to allow: putting him in the line, giving him layups, stuff like that.”

Mercado played well in the Gin Kings’ first game back, finishing with a near triple-double performance of 15 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists.

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They may have not gotten the victory, but Mercado believes the Kings have made strides in the off-season.

“The team is definitely improving. We’re moving the ball well,” he said.

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“Anytime you get 29 assists, you’re supposed to win the game. If you’ll look at the stat sheet, you would think we won, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t matter.”

One bright spot for the Kings is import Othyus Jeffers, who has proven to be a steady presence for the squad.

“He’s amazing. He does everything, not just the things on the court but off the court. He’s a leader in the locker room. He’s a winner. He voices his opinion and push guys,” Mercado said of Jeffers, who went for 31 points and 20 rebounds in the defeat.

And as Ginebra shifts its focus to GlobalPort on Sunday, Mercado and the rest of the Gin Kings are hoping to bring one big lesson from this NLEX defeat.

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“We got to get better defensively,” he said. “We got to play defense without fouling, and we got to use it as motivation to get better every day.”

TAGS: Gin Kings, Kings, NLEX, PBA

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