MARC Pingris will have two less family members cheering for him when Gilas Pilipinas faces France in the opener of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Tuesday night.
The workhorse forward finds his French father and namesake on neutral ground, but his son, Jean Michel, on the opposing side when the Filipino dribblers seek to pull off an upset against Les Bleus at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Pingris said his father, Jean Marc Sr., won’t cheer for either team when he watches the game.
“Sa gitna lang daw siya, nung kinausap ko,” the younger Pingris said.
However, the Star forward’s son, Jean Michel, who’s one-fourth French, joked that he will be rooting for the visitors.
“Sabi niya mag-cheer daw siya sa France,” Pingris said of his son, who turned eight last month. “(Tinanong ko kung) bakit at sabi niya French daw siya.”
“Sabi ko ‘French, French ka dyan. Wala kang laruan,’ kako,” the 34-year-old father of two added with a chuckle.
Turning serious, Pingris vowed to provide what he’s known for as soon as he steps on the home floor.
“Hindi pwede yung pa-petiks-petiks ka dito,” he said. “Dapat pag pinasok ka, trabaho ka kaagad.”
After all, Gilas is facing the world’s fifth-ranked nation that’s considered as a favorite to claim one of the remaining slots to the Rio Olympics.
“Totoo naman talaga eh: malakas talaga ang team ng France,” Pingris said. “Pero isang dahilan na siguro yun para ipakita namin na hindi basta-basta kalaban ang Gilas.”
“Kahit maliliit tayo, malaki naman yung puso natin sa paglalaro ng basketball,” the 6-foot-5 cager said. “Dito ko nabuhay yung family ko, dito ko nabigyan ng magandang mga bahay yung family ko, so makikipag-patayan kami para manalo.”