GILAS Pilipinas forward Marc Pingris said he is not intimidated by France’ imposing size nor by its lineup of NBA stars, pointing out that basketball is not played man for man but is a five-man game.
“Laro lang, di naman ako mag-isa maglalaro. Lima kami, so usap na lang sa depensa sa loob,” Pingris told Spin.ph ahead of Gilas' match against France kicking off of the 2014 Antibes International Basketball Tournament on Friday (Saturday Manila time) at the Azur Arena in Antibes, France.
Pingris said he’s been to numerous international competitions in the past, but acknowledged that none is bigger than this journey to the Fiba World Cup in Spain - the Philippines' first in the world stage since 1978.
On Friday alone, Pingris and Co. will be going up against a French side led by Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, Indiana Pacers slotman Ian Mahinmi, former Toronto Raptors point guard Nando de Colo, and Boris Diaw, a vital cog in the 2014 NBA champions San Antonio Spurs.
Another Spurs star, Tony Parker, is skipping the game but is set to join the team in the World Cup.
Pingris, by the way, is half-French. On Thursday, he had a rendezvous with his dad, Jean Marc Pingris, Sr., and relatives from his father's side who will be watching Gilas' three games in Antibes.
The San Mig star said he is excited, not just to battle Batum and Co. but to display the Filipino brand of basketball.
“Oo, excited, though medyo hindi na ako kinakabahan dahil malalakas sila, pero nandito kami para maglaro at ipapakita namin sa mga Pinoy dito na lalaban kami kahit sino kaharap namin,” added the seven-time PBA All-Defensive Team member.
After France, Gilas will go up against Australia on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), before winding up its stint in the Antibes pocket tournament with a game against Ukraine on Sunday (Monday in Manila).