This appears on the PBA website
Marc Pingris on digging deep, the Miami Heat and Gary David
by rick olivares
Marc Pingris missed the press conference for the Master Game Face Challenge, a charity exhibition basketball match at the ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel in plush Makati. The San Mig Coffee Mixers had a late practice.
But the Coffee Mixers’ power forward followed for the dinner where items for auctioned off for the benefit of the Manila Boystown.
When Pingris and his family was ushered into a table next to NBA star Kevin Love who will be participating in a Shooting Stars exhibition match, he urged his national teammate, Gary David to join him at the table. “I’m nervous,” Pingris said.
Quipped the ever-loquacious David, “Bakit? Lamang ka kay Kevin Love sa ka-gwapuhan dahil nagma-Master ka.”
Later in the evening, Pingris stayed in the back row. Here’s a man who plays under the glare and notice of basketball fans and armchair generals in the country’s biggest basketball stage and he’s more at ease in the background.
While watching the proceedings, Pingris confided a few things about what has been a long campaign for his PBA team as well as himself.
I remarked at how his team has played with incredible energy, focus and determination this past season.
“Nandyan na yung pagkakataon,” Marc says of the grand slam that is looming. “MInsan lang ka mabibiyayaan ng ganito, eh di kunin na.”
But the grind and the nerve-wracking FIBA Asia Championships last year have not giving him much respite. He feels that it is taking a toll on his body. “Kaya naintindihan ni Coach Tim (Cone) na kung bakit minsan masama yung laro ko. May tiwala naman si Coach na kapag kailangan talaga maasahan niya ako. Haha! Parang bangko (he was referring to a bank) no?”
Humor. It is one way of dealing with the pressure of pro hoops and the upcoming FIBA World Championships.
I tell him of Gary David’s earlier remark that while Pingris was up on stage next to Kevin Love, it looked like the NBA star had used Master while Marc was in need of it.
Pingris let out a laugh.
“Kaya malaking tulong si Gary,” noted Pingris of his teammate on the national team. “Hindi lang naman yung puntos niya sa court pero yung binibigay niya sa locker room naming – leadership, yung abilidad niya tangalin yung bigat kasi grabe yung mga hirit niya.”
Pingris turns a little serious. We spoke about the recently concluded NBA Finals where he saw the fate that befell the two-time defending champions, Miami Heat. “Napagod sila,” concluded Marc. “Naubos. Hindi biro yung apat na straight na finals. Tapos si LeBron naglalaro rin sa FIBA at sa Olympics. Patay patay kaya katawan mo.”
His remark isn’t lost on him as his San Mig team is also in the chase for that elusive Grand Slam. “Sana hindi kami tamaan ng ganyan.”
“Nandyan na eh.”