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Hoop Nut One-on-One: What if you were Sol Mercado?

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While watching Game 3 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals between the San Miguel Beermen and the Alaska Aces, the Hoopnut tag team can’t help but wonder about the current mindset of former Elasto Painter, former Bolt, former Beerman, former Batang Pier (twice) and current Barako Bull Energy player Solomon Mercado.

Enzo Flojo 9:00pm
Kung ikaw si Sol Mercado, mananapak ka na ba sa pikon dahil puro trade na lang ng trade sa iyo?

Rolly Mendoza 9:30pm
Well, you can look at a trade in two ways. The team that gave him away does not want or need him anymore but there’s a chance that the team getting Sol Mercado actually wants him.

Sol should keep his cool for now especially if he gets more minutes but if he sits on the bench, then maybe it’s time to make some noise.

Enzo Flojo 10:16pm
But this is a guy who has been traded in perpetuity and has been bounced around by both the SMC & MVP groups and is now getting shipped to one of the league’s worst teams (hello, Barako fans, wherever you are). Frankly speaking, if I were Sol, professionalism aside, I’d feel a little more than miffed. At this point in his career, it would be tremendously beneficial for him to find a home for the long haul.

Rolly Mendoza 10:30pm

Bull farm? SMC farm? Bull _ _ _ _?

Bull farm? SMC farm? Bull _ _ _ _?

Some say that Barako Bull is actually a “farm team” for the SMC group so Mercado is still within the grasp of those teams. Hehe!

However, one has to wonder why Mercado has been traded so often in the past couple of years. What is the reason for teams bailing on him?

Is it his work ethic? His attitude? His professionalism? I have no idea why teams keep trading him.

This I know for sure, teams are not trading him due to lack of talent and skill.

Enzo Flojo 10:41pm
Barako as a farm team is a thinly-veiled fact. Come on. Who are they kidding, right? I don’t really question Sol’s personality and professionalism, though I think his long range game is a big question mark. It’s not that he doesn’t have an outside game. It’s just that he’s not consistent. Maybe that’s why?

Rolly Mendoza 10:52pm
Mercado-Cabagnot
I do agree that his three-point shooting needs a lot of work. The last two players that got traded for him (Cabagnot and Miranda) have better range than him but Mercado is a much better slasher than those two.

On the consistency issue, I think part of that has to be Mercado’s dedication to team ball and defense. I do believe he has the skills to be an excellent defender but that remains to be seen.

Enzo Flojo 11:13pm
I think Mercado is too far into his career already to redefine his game e. Defense has never been his calling card, and I don’t think it ever will be. He’s on the floor really to score and make plays for his teammates. That’s it. In the end, though, if you were Sol, how would you feel given how he has been shipped from one club to the next? It’s a good thing, then, that the teams aren’t geographically-based. Otherwise, that’s another headache Sol would have had to consider.

Rolly Mendoza 11:27pm
Well, if he wants to last longer and play more minutes in the PBA, Mercado needs to add more to his game. It was evident that his scoring skills were not needed with SMB and GlobalPort so a different approach might have worked.

In any case, Barako will be a fresh start for him and hopefully he is ready to show us what else he can do!

To close, here’s an inspirational tweet from Sol Mercado himself
https://twitter.com/M3rcMyWords/status/550504657798168577
Good luck Sol Train!

*Sol Mercado (Globalport) image by Nuki Sabio of PBA Images

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes to break PH Arena record come 3×3 World Cup

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals between heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best t

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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United has formally announced their absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.

A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave their thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While their PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs they have started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand, and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There are limited corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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Basketball

CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level

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After falling just two games short to cop Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different animal.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad had a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It however served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even having multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block while the 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the two and the rest of the Jawbreakers now have this experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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Basketball

Renzo Subido to bring Marinerong Pilipino experience to UST

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When Renzo Subido decided to skip out the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers’ UAAP Season 80 campaign, he had only one thing in mind: to improve on his craft. And he was able to do so under coach Koy Banal in the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers.

After the AMA Online Education Titans had a quick end to their campaign during the 2017 Foundation Cup, the 5-foot-9 floor general was immediately picked up by Marinerong Pilipino for the playoffs. Liking his style of play, he was again tapped for the 2018 Aspirants Cup.

And he showed a lot of growth from then, leading the Skippers to a 94-92 victory over fellow contenders Zark’s Jawbreakers. The 21-year-old tallied 20 points, three rebounds, and five assists while knocking down the crucial free throws to seal off the Lyceum-backed team.

“It was a good win for us. We’re happy that we won the game because it’s a good way to start the conference,” beamed Subido. “I’ve played against Lyceum in the past so I had familiarity with how they play.

“It was a good experience for us.”

Expectations are high for Marinerong Pilipino this conference as they are pegged as their blend of veterans and young guns are seen too overwhelming for the rest of the field. Still, Subido knows that it will be a tough climb as the other teams, especially the collegiate-based squads, have familiarity on their side.

“We’re taking it one game at a time but the goal is to win the championship,” he said. “But we know that it’s not going to be easy since we are going up against the top collegiate teams.

“So we’re just going to go all out every game.”

Besides winning the championship, Subido is on a personal mission. Being one of the seniors for the Growling Tigers next season, he hopes to learn to become a better leader for next season.

“I want to become a better leader. I know that everything I can learn this conference, I can bring to UST,” Subido expressed.

“For all I can see, coach Aldin [Ayo] is a guard-oriented coach. So I’m using all the experience I get here in Marinero, I’ll bring it to UST.”

For sure, Subido wants to make up for lost time.

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