IT’S a three-week European camp that will have Gilas touring Greece, Turkey, and Italy.
While many sees it as work and pleasure at the same time, for most of the players it only meant one thing: sacrifice.
Marc Pingris has been doing the routine the past four years since becoming part of the Gilas program in 2013 under former coach Chot Reyes. Still, he can’t help but get affected whenever he’ll be away from home for a long time like this one.
“Yung two days nga lang na hindi ko sila makita nami-miss ko na sila, ito pa kayang three weeks,” said the veteran power forward on Friday as he was getting ready for the national team’s long flight for Greece via Istanbul.
“Pero sacrifice talaga. Hindi mawawala 'yan. Alam ko pati sila nagsa-sacrifice din.”
Ping admitted his eldest son, Jean Michael, initially had some reluctance again about him being away from them for a long time.
“Yung boy ko sabi niya, 'Bakit na naman?' Kaya kailangan kong ipaliwanag sa kanya na kailangan kong magtrabaho para sa bansa natin,” said the 34-year-old Star Hotshots stalwart. “Sabi ko sa kanya, 'Alam ko balang araw, pag naglaro ka rin ng basketbol, maiintindihan mo rin si Dada.'”
Good thing, even before he was officially named as part of coach Tab Baldwin’s 14-man roster that will undergo a 21-day training camp abroad as part of Gilas Pilipinas’ preparation for the coming Manila leg of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Pingris was able to spend quality time with his children and wife, actress Danica Sotto.
“Nung bakasyon namin (Star and Gilas), nilabas ko na yung mga bata, kaming family. Nag-Bangkok kami, nag-beach kami. Tapos ako yung hatid-sundo sa kanila sa school.
“In a way, kinundisyon ko na yung mind nila na kung sakali makuha ako sa Gilas baka mawala ako ng ilang weeks,” he added. “Pero siyempre pag andiyan na, hindi rin maaalis yung ma-miss mo sila.”
Pingris also hopes he’ll get to meet his father even for a short time while the national team is in Italy. The elder Pingris is currently based in France.
“Malapit na rin naman yung France sa Italy. Pero try niya pa yata kung makapag-leave pa siya,” said Pingris of his father. “Kasi nagamit niya na yung iba nung nagpunta siya ng Mexico, kaya hindi niya pa alam kung papayagan pa siya dito. We’ll just see na lang.”