KNOWN more for his defense, Marc Pingris got acknowledged for his contributions on the other end for a change.
The three-time PBA Defensive Player of the Year and eight-time All-Defensive team member became the newest member of the league’s 5,000-point club on Friday night in Star’s 128-81 win over Kia in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
“Ah aabot ng ten thousand yan,” Pingris said in jest after the game before turning serious. “Sobrang blessed lang, na talagang nag-thank ako kay Lord kanina tsaka kay coach (Chito) dahil sa tiwala at sa opportunity na binigay niya sa'kin kanina.”
After all, with the lead against the Picanto beyond reach in the fourth quarter, Hotshots coach Chito Victolero fielded Pingris back to chase his scoring milestone, which came with two seconds with two seconds left via a breakaway slam that increased his point total to 5,001.
"Pinaupo na 'ko eh, tapos nung nalaman nila na 'oh, five points na lang, gusto mo pa maglaro?' 'It's up to you coach kung gusto mo' kako. 'Okay, laro ka,’” Pingris said of his conversation with Victolero. “Alam mo yung tiwala na binigay niya rin sa'kin? Nagpapasalamat talaga ako sa kanya.”
Pingris scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter as his teammates had a conscious effort to feed him the ball.
“Oo, pero sabi ko ang importante lang naman manalo eh, kako matagal pa naman ako sa PBA,” the Pozorrubio, Pangasinan pride said. “Kung sino yung open kanina, sabi ko tumira lang kayo. Pero kung may pagkakataon, okay, shushoot ako.”
Pingris, who turns 36 on October 16, became the 85th player in league history to achieve the feat and the sixth player in franchise history after Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera, James Yap, PJ Simon, and Kerby Raymundo.
It’s remarkable feat for someone who hasn’t averaged double-digit scoring in any of his 13 seasons in the league.
And he did it despite still hardly being back to 100 percent as he continues his recovery from a hip injury that kept him out for half a year.
“'Di pa naman (100 percent) Konting takbo pa,” Pingris said. “Pagkatapos ng practice tumatakbo ako sa gabi, kinukuha ko yung hangin ko. Walang-wala pa talaga yung legs ko eh, dahil ang ginagawa talaga strengthening, workout.”