SEVILLE, SPAIN - Marc Pingris needed only one look at Greece's players as Gilas left the practice court on Sunday to realize they can't afford to ease up on the pedal in their next game in the Fiba World Cup.
"Hanep, yung point guard nila kasing laki ko na 'yon," Pingris sighed, shaking his head.
Pingris, listed generously at 6-4 in the PBA, may be one of the shortest frontliners in this 15-day showpiece featuring 24 of the best teams in the world, but there is no doubting how big his heart is.
The San Mig star wasted no time showing the world what he can do, finishing with 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting and grabbing four rebounds - next only to Andray Blatche's team-high 12 - in the 78-81 loss to Croatia.
Pingris said it was by no means easy going up against opponents a head taller than him, but he draws energy from thousands of fans who travelled from far and wide just to cheer them on in this charming city.
Gilas just can't let them down, he said.
"Iniisip ko lang palagi 'yung mga Pilipino na pumunta dito, sumusuporta," he told Spin.ph. "Alam naman namin malalaki ang mga kalaban, pero sabi nga ni coach (Chot Reyes), bigay lang ang best.
"Given na yon, sa height talo na e. Pero pag may puso, palaging may tsansa tayo."
The mere sight of Milwaukee Bucks ace Antetokoumpo Giannis, an agile 6-foot-11 forward with ridiculously long arms, is enough to convince Pingris that they are in for a tougher game on Sunday (Monday morning, Manila time).
"Mas mahirap kalaban ang mga ito," he said. "Pero pag may puso, walang imposible."
Even fatigue isn't a factor for Gilas after the grinding overtime loss to Croatia, Pingris added.
"Hindi na mawawala ang pagod sa ginagawa namin. Pero kailangan mo lang ipasok sa isip mo na ito ang trabaho na pinasukan namin e, ito 'yung talent na binigay ni Lord sa amin," he said.
"Kayod lang," he added.