FOR someone not used to losing, Marc Pingris is understandably bothered by Star's season-long freefall.
The current woes facing the Star Hotshots in the PBA Governors Cup is something Pingris never imagined would happen to a franchise with a long winning tradition to uphold.
The veteran power forward groped for words when asked about the latest loss suffered by the team on Friday night, a 106-93 beating at the hands of Phoenix Fuel Masters.
That loss was the fifth straight for the Hotshots who fell to a 1-7 mark to tie Blackwater at the cellar, falling on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time in the last five years.
The losing streak is also the team's longest over the last nine years and within a conference in 11 years, so much so that Pingris himself was surprised when SPIN.ph approached him for a few post-game interview.
“May nag-iinterview pa pala sa amin,” he said with a smile, obviously mindful of the current state of the team.
“Kung yung mga fans hindi sanay (na nakikitang natatalo kami), kami rin naman hindi sanay.”
The 34-year-old native of Pozzorubio, Pangasinan admitted he himself could not understand what ails a franchise which is just two years removed from winning a grand slam.
He said the Hotshots have had players-only meetings several times and even maintains an open line of communication with the coaching staff under Jason Webb, but all to no avail.
“Ano pa ba ang dapat gawin?” he said, trying to find an answer to what ails the Hotshots. “Ang hirap.”
Pingris said he has been losing sleep over the skid, adding, “Minsan ang sama talaga, hindi ka makakatulog. Ang sama sa pakiramdam. Minsan pagkahiga mo nag-iisip ka, and kakaisip mo, umaga na pala. Hindi mo napapansin yung oras.”
They say players win game, and coaches lose them. But for Pingris, the blame shouldn’t solely fall on the shoulders of Webb, the rookie coach who took over the reins from multi-titled Tim Cone just before the start of the season.
“Mahirap din sa part niya yung nangyayari ngayon. Siyempre, lahat naman ng coach gustong manalo,” stressed the longtime Gilas stalwart.
From the looks of it, the Hotshots will need a miracle to make the playoffs this time. They entered the quarterfinals in their first two conferences with Webb, but never made it to the semis.
The only positive thing Pingris can see within the Hotshots is the undying support they’ve been getting from their loyal fans.
“Nagpapasalamat pa rin ako sa patience ng mga fans namin. Talagang kahit paano, kahit sobrang down kami ngayon andiyan pa rin sila nanonood, nagte-text sa amin na kaya nyo yan,” he said. “Yun, sobrang naa-apreciate ko talaga.”