Ex-Gilas forward Pingris happy to see national team’s continuous improvement

Marc Pingris

Noise quickly circulated from the crowd watching the Gilas Pilipinas-Singapore game last Saturday night in the 2017 SEABA Championships when many-time national team member Marc Pingris was shown on the big screen late in the fourth quarter of what was already a lopsided affair.

Gilas won the match, 113-66 to improve to 2-0 in the tournament standings.

Pingris has obviously been part of many battles wearing the colors of the national team, but after the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament last year, the Star Hotshots forward retired from international competition.

Seeing Gilas 5.0 personally makes Pingris feel that the program is in good hands. He particularly cited Calvin Abueva whom he thinks is his successor when it comes to being the leader of the squad.

“Masaya, nakikita ko na andun yung heart nila maglaro especially Calvin (Abueva). Sinabi ko sa kanya kailangan maging vocal ka sa team. Kailangan magsalita ka nang magsalita. Ikaw tinitingnan nila ngayon as energy player. Dapat mahawa sila sa energy mo,” Pingris said.

Abueva topscored for the second straight night for Gilas with 16 points in less than 20 minutes of play. He also had five rebounds and three assists.

Another player who Pingris mentioned for his improvement is Troy Rosario, who is one of the top forwards on the current Gilas line-up.

“Si Troy, pwede na siya maglaro ng tres. Dati kwatro lang. Ngayon pati tres. Bumilis si Troy. I am happy na lahat nag-i-improve. Pati si June Mar (Fajardo). Grabe yung ginagawa niyang laro,” Pingris said.

For his part, Pingris misses being on the team himself, even joking that he would have entered the floor to play Singapore on his own.Gilas Pilipinas Fans at Araneta Coliseum

“Namiss ko rin yung team tsaka gusto ko suportahan yung Pilipinas. Nakakamiss lang din talaga. Feeling ko kanina, sana andito ako (sa court), popostehan ko tong mga ‘to eh. Nakakamiss. As a player, mamimiss mo yung mga ganyang pagkakataon eh. Yung bonding, yung mga kalokohan ninyo,” he shared.

But the 35-year-old forward is just as satisfied being a fan, watching the current group of Gilas players, and supporting them all-throughout.

“I am happy naman na nakapanood rin ng game. Nakakamiss maglaro. Dati sinuportahan tayo, so ngayon naman sila suportahan natin,” Pingris said.

Written by Levi Verora Jr
Photos by Glenn Michael Tan

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