ALREADY outnumbered by Ginebra in terms of fans, Star’s following seems set to take a hit when the Hotshots and the Gin Kings collide in an anticipated PBA Philippine Cup showdown on Sunday night at the Philippine Arena.
Marc Pingris feels less fans watch will watch and cheer for the Hotshots live in the annual Christmas classic at the Bulacan venue following the departure of James Yap, who was traded to Rain or Shine after being the face of the Purefoods franchise over the last decade.
“Syempre, alam mo naman ang laking hatak din ni James sa fans eh,” the Hotshots star forward said in a chat with SPIN.ph after practice on Friday. “Alam mong mababawasan din (yung manonood) dahil wala na si James sa amin.”
Pingris, though, kept his focus on their objective as they seek a fourth win in six games that will already match their win total in the last edition of the all-Filipino conference.
“Ang importante dyan, kailangan manalo ka rin naman kasi eh,” the Hotshots defensive anchor said. “Kahit na marami kang fans, kung hindi ka rin nananalo, ganun din, ‘di ba?
“Alam kong ang laking bagay din talaga yung fans sa players, sa team, pero syempre, basta nandyan yung family namin na sumusuporta sa amin, okay na yun,” he added. “Pero talagang mas maganda kung mas marami kang fans na sumusuporta sa inyo.”
Pingris is well aware the Gin Kings have that advantage, expecting their legion of fans to flock to the 55,000-seat venue.
“Alam naman natin ang fans ng Ginebra eh: kahit saan pumunta, saang sulok ng mundo ‘yan, nandyan talaga ang mga fans ng Ginebra,” Pingris said. “Hindi mawalala yan.”
“Pati yun fans namin,” he added. “Pero iba pa rin ang fans ng Ginebra. Sabihin natin sa PBA ngayon, baka seventy to eighty percent (ng fans), sa kanila eh, so kailangan mag-focus kami sa game.
Not even a typhoon that’s reportedly set to hit Metro Manila on Sunday can stop the Gin Kings’ fans, Pingris believes.
“Alam namin na darating yung mga fans ng Ginebra dyan kahit alam mong may bagyo.”