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    'Kuya' Marc Pingris vows to push Gilas youngsters to the limit

    Jan 22, 2020
    PHOTO: jerome ascaño

    MARC Pingris was at a loss when Tab Baldwin, in a chance encounter at the airport, told him that they should talk soon.

    "Kakausapin niya daw ako soon," Pingris said.

    Fast forward to now and that talk finally had some semblance of clarity, after Pingris became a surprise addition to the 24-man Gilas Pilipinas pool for the February window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers.

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    Pingris admitted he was left wondering what he was doing in a pool alongside a handful of young players that are being groomed for the Gilas team to the 2023 Fiba World Cup.

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    "Nandoon yung question na bakit ako. Alam ko maraming nagtatanong kung bakit nandoon ako, pero di ko rin alam," said the Magnolia forward, who last suited up for Gilas in the 2016 Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

    "Galing ako sa injury, di ako nakalaro ng one year, nagkaka-edad na rin ako, napasama pa ako sa Gilas. Siguro may plano si Lord kung bakit ako nakuha ulit. Nire-respeto ko yung desisyon ng mga coaches."

    Pingris is the perfect link to Gilas' past, being a part of the national team in its silver-medal finishes in the 2013 and 2015 Fiba Asia Championships.

    The league veteran feels his role should go along that line.

    "Pero pakiramdam ko, ang papel ko is to be vocal sa team, maging kuya at mag-guide sa kanila dahil sila na yung future natin eh," he said.

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      Regarded as an elder statesman in the pool, Pingris vowed to challenge his younger peers and bring out the best in every one in time for the February games against Thailand and Indonesia.

      "Hindi ko sinabing hindi ako makikipagsabayan sa kanila. Kuya nila ako, pero di ibig sabihin nun na di ako mage-ensayo. Gagawin ko pa rin lahat ng ipapagawa ng mga coaches," he said.

      "Basta para sa akin, more on guidance through experience lang na pwede ko ma-share sa kanila, yun ang magiging papel ko. It's an honor na napasama ulit sa pool. Panibagong hamon na naman ito sa buhay ko."

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      PHOTO: jerome ascaño
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