THERE'S really nothing quite like a homecrowd advantage.
And Gilas Pilipinas just got showered with that on Wednesday when it made its debut in the 30th Southeast Asian Games as a packed Mall of Asia Arena crowd welcomed the men's national team with open arms.
Stanley Pringle sure appreciated that, with the howling cheers from the get-go allowing the hosts to nab the quick start and set the tone for what would turn out to be a 110-58 victory over Singapore.
"Definitely, the crowd is great. We had a packed stadium tonight so we just wanted to play as hard as we can, focus on execution, and give back to the crowd," he said.
The Fil-Am guard sure fed off of that energy, scoring the first eight points for the Philippines before finishing the first quarter with 11 points to his name.
He ended with 14 points and five assists, but the damage was already done the moment Pringle sat on the bench.
"It was our first time playing together in front of a big crowd. We just tried to come out and focus on our execution and try to give the crowd a good game," he said.
Much is expected of this all-pro Gilas squad, not only to win the gold but sweep the tourney convincingly.
But Pringle says that the national team hardly cares about those.
"We can't worry about anybody's expectations," the Ginebra slasher said. "We're just trying to play as hard as we can for the country, represent the country, the motherland. We're gonna leave it out on the floor, that's what we can focus on."