Solomon Mercado and import Solomon Alabi. These two Solomons will be the key additions to Koy Banal’s Barako Bull Energy squad which is trying to become better in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Mercado attended the team’s practice on Friday a day after being traded to the Energy for veteran guard Denok Miranda, and Banal liked what he saw.
“He’s very positive,” Banal told Tiebreaker Times. “We like Sol and he will change the pace of this team.”
With Mercado now in the squad, Banal said they will now transform their team to a running squad.
“Run and gun na talaga yung mangyayari sa team namin. We will maximize the full potential of Sol, particularly in the open court,” added Banal. But to make the transition offense more efficient, Banal knows he needs to bring in an important piece which will start things off in fastbreak.
“How can you start the fastbreak if you don’t have the ball? That’s why we’re bring in Solomon Alabi. He’s a rim protector and a great rebounder. He will start off our fastbreak,” added Banal.
Alabi is a 7-foot-1 center, who played for the Toronto Raptors in the NBA. He had his best moment with the Raptors in the team’s last game of the season where he recorded career highs of 11 points, 19 rebounds and three blocks against the New Jersey Nets in the 2011-2012 season.
The Nigerian center has a great reputation as a shot blocker. During his collegiate career, he led the ACC Division in blocks as a freshman playing for Florida State. He was named to the ACC All-Defensive team in the 2008-2009 season.
Getting Alabi as center is no brainer, according to Banal.
“I’ve been a long-time assistant coach in the PBA and I was regarded as a defensive coach, but my team was dead last in defense last conference. We wanted to get better and Alabi will play a key role in improving our defense. He’s a rim protector,” added Banal.