The last four years have been particularly special for Sol Mercado.
After Barako Bull traded him to Ginebra last 2015, Mercado became one of the beloved figures of the crowd-darlings. It resulted in three championships in the last four years.
However, all good things must come to an end. The 6-foot-1 combo guard was recently part of a blockbuster trade that sent him, Kevin Ferrer, and Jervy Cruz to Northport for Stanley Pringle.
And the 35-year-old was overcome with emotions after he learned of the transaction.
“I’m going through a truckload of emotions right now,” he admitted in a statement. “I really wasn’t going to say anything publicly, go about my business, and play this game I have been blessed to play for a living.
“As the news spread, my phone continued to blow up with messages and phone calls from my teammates, coaches, and management. I was still good, I was holding it!” he continued.
“Then comes tons of messages from the best fans in the world. That’s when I lost it.”
During his first seven years in the PBA, Mercado was a star, as he played for Rain or Shine, Meralco, Globalport, San Miguel, and Barako. Though he was able to rack up huge numbers, he couldn’t win the big one.
It was only during the 2016 Governors’ Cup that he experienced what being a champion was like.
He was pivotal for Ginebra over the last four years, becoming the constant sixth man of the squad.
“There is nothing like being appreciated by the people who watch every game and witness how much you give to their beloved team,” added Mercado, who is averaging 6.67 points, 3.67 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game.
“I would be lying if I told you guys this doesn’t hurt. But trust me, my heart is full.”
Though his days as a Gin King are over, he hopes that the Barangay won’t forget him.
“It was an honor to go to battle on that court with you guys. Going to miss that part tremendously,” he shared.
“I’m not going to miss you because I pray that we will still be in each other’s lives.”
Once a king, always a king.
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