MARC Pingris is the first to admit his stint with Gilas Pilipinas and the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship experience made him a more complete player.
Two months after playing a major role in the national team’s silver-medal finish in the World Championship qualifiers, Pingris once again left an indelible mark by playing with the heart of a champion Friday when San Mig Coffee bagged the PBA Governors Cup title.
The power forward from Pozzorubio, Pangasinan finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds while providing the hustle and energy in the Mixers’ 87-77 victory over sister-team Petron in the deciding Game Seven of the Finals before a jampacked crowd at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Ang Gilas mas mataas na level. Araw-araw `yung game at mas malalakas yung kalaban,” admitted Pingris, whose latest title conquest was also a belated present after he turned 32 last October 16.
“Pero siguro nakakuha rin ako ng kumpiyansa sa sarili ko (mula sa Fiba-Asia Championship). Ina-apply ko kung ano `yung tinuturo ni (Gilas assistant) coach Norman Black sa mga post move.”
The development of Pingris, known more for his defensive prowess, was in full display during the final game of the series, when he scored eight points in the first quarter behind an array of moves down the block against rookie big man June Mar Fajardo.
Together with import Marcus Blakely, Pingris made the crucial plays down the stretch to complete his all-out effort.
The San Mig power forward also added five block shots and went away with the Finals Most Valuable Player award.
“Maaga ako lagi sa practice. Laking bagay sa akin 'yun. Kailangan mo talaga pag-hirapan. Nakita mo naman resulta eh,” said Pingris, who normed 12.5 points, 8.5 boards, three assists, and 1.5 blocks in seven games in the title series.
“Sobrang happy ako kasi ito `yung pinag-hihirapan mo eh. Everyday nagigising ka ng maaga kahit sobrang antok ka, `yung mga sakit ng katawan, `yung mga injury,” Pingris said.
“Kung ano yung tinanim mo, ito na yung kinalabasan.”