FOR Marc Pingris, it’s not important who’s in charge but more on how long Gilas Pilipinas prepares for a major tournament.
The national team standout politely declined to comment about the ongoing evaluation being done on Gilas Pilipinas, including beleaguered coach Chot Reyes, and instead pointed to the team’s lack of preparation that factored in the seventh-place finish in this year’s Asian Games.
“Okay naman sa akin si coach Chot,” Pingris said after his Purefoods Hotshots rallied past Globalport, 81-75, on Friday for their first win in the PBA Philippine Cup. “Ang puhunan lang talaga dyan yung panahon ng pagpa-practice.”
Gilas made do with a one-month preparation for the quadrennial event after a successful Fiba World Cup campaign.
“Walang dalawang buwan eh, so ang hirap talaga i-build yung team na kokonting panahon lang kayo nagsama,” Pingris said. “Ang importante dyan talaga yung chemistry at condition na tinatayo niyo.”
The star Hotshot feels two months of preparation would’ve been enough to avoid the catastrophe.
“May mga time lang talaga na down kami o nagkakamali kami, pero dahil sa kulang sa practice yun,” said Pingris, who returned to action after a well-deserved one month vacation.
Pingris provided the energy that was lacking in the Hotshots’ last two games, tallying 17 rebounds, nine points, three assists, and one steal in 44 minutes.
Two of his scoring output came from a tough layup over former teammate Yancy de Ocampo that capped a 12-0 run and gave the Hotshots a 75-70 lead, which proved enough for Purefoods’ breakthrough win in the All-Filipino conference.
Still, Pingris insists he’s far from tip-top shape.
“Wala pa sa timing, nanggigigil pa rin. Nag-focus talaga ako sa depensa at rebound. Pero hinanapan rin ako ng opensa ni coach eh, para may threat rin sa loob.”
Biking four hours daily when he was away helped Pingris, who has had only three practice sessions with Purefoods since his comeback.
“Laking bagay rin 'yung pagba-bike ko. Laking bagay sa legs at conditioning ko.”