Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meralco coach Gregorio: Cardona, Mercado relationship ‘work in progress’

source: Reynaldo Belen | InterAKTV

Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio on Tuesday denied rumors that his team’s stars, Mac Cardona and Sol Mercado, had a physical altercation in practice, while admitting that the relationship of the two players was still a “work in progress.”

Cardona and Mercado were described as “mature individuals” and “winners” by Gregorio, even as questions remain about how the two high-usage guards can co-exist with each other. Mercado was acquired by the Bolts midway through last season, but the duo have seen limited court time together because both of them have had to battle injuries.

More questions came up about the pairing after Cardona started the PBA Commissioner’s Cup firing on all cylinders while Mercado spent time on the injured list. The former La Salle hotshot averaged 24.3 points over the three games that Mercado missed, but scored just 13 points in his teammate’s return versus the Powerade Tigers last Sunday.

“Both are competitive, the challenge is to put them in an environment where their energies can rub off on each other in the most productive way,” said Gregorio.

The Bolts have lost three of their first four games in the Commissioner’s Cup. Despite replacing Jarrid Famous with NBA veteran Earl Barron and the return of Mercado to the lineup, Meralco suffered its worst defeat in the tournament, 94-82, against the Tigers.