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Mercado tagged as ‘missing in action’

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Sol Mercado has yet to report for practice after being traded by NorthPort to Phoenix in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

Fuel Masters’ head coach Louie Alas said they have been looking for the 35-year-old guard, whom they acquired after shipping LA Revilla and Rey Guevarra to the Batang Pier.

But until now, the seasoned playmaker has yet to report for practice.

“I still have no idea on what Sol’s future will be because the management will get to decide on his future with the team,” Alas said. “And no, he has yet to show up in practice.”

Despite a surplus of guards in the team, Alas still took a gamble on Mercado and traded for him.

Alex Mallari, RR Garcia, RJ Jazul, Brian Heruela and Mike Gamboa are the guards lined up for the Fuel Masters for next season.

After four seasons with Barangay Ginebra, Mercado was dealt to NorthPort as part of the trade that saw Stanley Pringle going to the Gin Kings.

He played briefly with Batang Pier last season as he was shipped to Phoenix, his seventh team in 12 seasons in the Philippine Basketball Association.

But Alas said Mercado, a three-time champion, has yet to sign a new contract with them and it’s up to the management if they will keep the services of the veteran playmaker.

Mercado averaged 4.0 points and 1.6 rebounds for the Batang Pier in the Governors’ Cup before an ankle sprain shut him down in the semifinal series against Barangay Ginebra. Phoenix has been busy tweaking its roster as it also added Jake Pascual from Alaska in exchange for this year’s second-round pick. The Fuel Masters also picked up Heruela from Blackwater for Ron Dennison.

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