Ginebra needs to get back defensive identity, says Mercado

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Sol Mercado took responsibility for his foul-ridden performance in Ginebra’s Game 3 loss last Wednesday.

The veteran guard said him fouling out was out of his own recklessness and not Allen Durham figuring out a way to neutralize him.

“I had one foul on him,” he said. “Two fouls were on (Cliff) Hodge, one on Jimmy (Alapag), and one foul on (Baser) Amer. The last foul, we were forced and it was an intentional foul. Really, it wasn’t him that got me in foul trouble. I kind of got myself in foul trouble.”

Meralco bagged a 2-1 lead in the series after the 107-103 win with Durham, named best import, stabilizing the middle and bouncing back with 36 points and 20 boards.

Mercado admits that it will take a lot of effort from Ginebra to clamp down on the hulking reinforcement.

“Like I said, it was never just me who was defending him. It’s a collective team effort and he’s the best import for the reason so it’s going to take a lot to guard him again. We got to find a way to stop him cause he’s a great player,” he said.

But Mercado said that the Gin Kings shouldn’t just focus on Durham, needing to revert to its defensive core values if they want to equalize the series on Friday.

“We talked about as a team going back to our defensive identity. The two games that we gave up over 100 points, we lost. The game where we held them below 80, we won,” he said.

“There’s no secret to success. Defense wins championships. We got to get back to our identity of defending. We’re the top defensive team in the eliminations so we need to get back and defend again.”

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