CHANGSHA, China – Marc Pingris did more than what Gilas coach Tab Baldwin asked for.
The energetic forward went out of his comfort zone playing defense and became active on offense for the national team in its 99-65 blowout of India on Tuesday at the close of the Fiba Asia preliminaries at the Changsha Social Work Colleges gymnasium here.
Pingris contributed 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field and had four rebounds and two steals in his best game so far in the tournament.
And it all took an irritated coach Tab Baldwin to spur Pingris into action.
“Hindi kasi natuwa si coach sa amin pagdating namin sa locker room,” said the longtime national team member, recalling how Gilas got a dressing down from Baldwin at halftime after a slow start to the game.
“Kailangan umatake kaming mga bigs. Kailangan talaga mabutas namin ‘yung gitna para sumikip yung depensa.”
Baldwin did confirm scolding the team at the break as Gilas trailed at the end of the first quarter, 16-17, before getting its act together just before halftime.
“There was a little bit of home truths told in the locker room. And I don’t think you wouldn’t want standing outside the door. I didn’t want my mother standing outside of the door, that’s for sure,” said Baldwin.
The obedient son that he is, Pingris went on the attack and made his way scoring baskets underneath.
Ang ginawa namin sa gitna, atakihin lang namin. Kumuha kami ng kumpiyansa,” he said. “Ginawa lang namin yung gusto niya.”
With Pingris joining the scoring fray, Gilas put India away for good behind a huge fourth quarter run to clinch the victory that formalized its claim to the No. 1 spot in Group E going to the knockout stage.