IT was Marc Pingris’ way of expressing 'Mwah! Mwah! Tsup! Tsup! to `Bossing’ Vic Sotto.
Pingris didn’t disappoint his celebrated father-in-law on the eve of his birthday as San Mig Coffee survived Alaska, 71-69, to take a tightly fought Game One in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series on Saturday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Almost the entire Sotto clan, including Pingris’ wife Danica, and brother-in-law Oyo Boy who came with actress wife Kristine Hermosa, was present at the Big Dome to give its support to Pingris and the whole Mixers team.
And the grind-out win was definitely the perfect birthday gift Pingris and the rest of the San Mig Coffee team could offer to the popular comedian and host of the iconic noontime TV show 'Eat Bulaga.'
“Oo naman napaka-gandang birthday gift nito para sa akin kasi panalo sila, I'm happy for them (San Mig Coffee) and I'm happy for my daughter Danica," `Bossing’ told Spin.ph while a flock of fans gathered around him after the game to take his photo and autograph.
Pingris, who scored the crucial basket that put San Mig on top, 65-64 with 1:35 left to play, was touched by the gesture of support shown to him by his father-in-law and the Sotto family.
"Masaya ako siyempre na nandito si Daddy nanood siya. I'm blessed na andyan ang family ni Danica lalo na si Daddy birthday niya pa, kaya na appreciate ko talaga itong suporta niya sa team," said Pingris.
"Sobrang na-touch `yung mga teammates ko na andiyan ang nag-iisang 'Bossing.' Sobrang blessed kaming dalawa (ni Daddy) kasi nanalo kami at birthday pa niya," he added.
Pingris admitted he had to exert extra effort during the game so as not to let down the younger brother of Senator Tito Sotto.
"Oo naman extra effort ako. Ang sa akin focus lang sa game kasi lagi naman siyang (si Daddy) nanonood ng game lalo pag semis or Finals gaya last year. Siyempre gusto mo ipakita na maganda `yung lalaruin mo. Ayaw ko kasing masayang `yung effort, `yung pagkakataon na andiyan silang nanood," he said.
Despite the low-scoring game and his son-in-law getting into foul trouble, the most popular of the legendary comic trio Tito, Vic, and Joey, admitted having enjoyed the thrilling game.
"Alam mo naman yun (Pingris) intense maglaro kaya talagang dedepensa at dedepensa kaya di maiiwasan ang fouls,” he said about Pingris getting into foul trouble. “I think they played a good game. It's a team effort and I congratulate them."
Asked if his presence meant extra pressure for the San Mig forward, Bossing replied, "Di naman siguro. Malakas ang loob nun (ni Marc) at confident ako na next game mananalo pa rin. Sana nga tuluy-tuloy na (ang panalo)."
The veteran actor, composer, musician, and producer, who once mimicked former PBA game analyst Steve Kattan during one segment of 'Eat Bulaga' during the eighties, also showed a deep knowledge of the game, saying he expects Alaska to come back a stronger team in Game Two set on Monday.
"But you can’t count out Alaska. It’s a very good team also, so good luck to them (San Mig)," said Sotto.
Danica was seen silently praying on her seat especially during the final stretch of the game, but was more relieved that nobody got hurt from both teams.
The young actress said she feels the pain more than twice when she sees her husband getting hurt on the court.
"Nakakakaba (yung game) pero okay lang basta safe sila. Mas nasasaktan kasi ako pag nasasaktan siya (Marc)," she said.
Since the `Dabarkads’ of Eat Bulaga have declared that `Bossing’s’ birthday would be a year-round celebration, Pingris has vowed to dedicate San Mig’s every win from here on to his father-in-law.
"Oo naman pa-birthday ko kay Daddy ang mga susunod pang panalo namin," he said. "Gift ko kay Lord, kay Daddy, at sa family ko."