MARC Pingris hopes to see an improvement on the give-and-take relationship between Star coach Jason Webb and the players when the Hotshots seek a first victory in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday in a match against Rain or Shine at the Philsports Arena.
The Hotshots lost to Meralco in their midseason tournament debut last Wednesday in a game where they squandered an early double-digit lead, piling more pressure on Webb who is out to atone for the team's early exit from the season-opening Philippine Cup.
Pingris knows the challenge ahead for Webb and the Hotshots.
“Sobrang big challenge sa amin 'to,” Pingris said. “Kailangan namin tulungan si coach Jason at kailangan niya rin kaming tulungan. Hindi namin kailangang pabayaan si coach Jason kasi kung ano 'yung pinapagawa niya kailangan gawin din namin.”
Pingris admitted the players are sometimes guilty of defying Webb’s instructions.
“Minsan sinusuway din namin si coach so kami rin 'yung, kumbaga, bumabalik din sa amin,” Pingris said. “Pag talo, ang tingin parang kay coach Jason lahat (ang sisi) pero minsan naman siguro na sa’min mga players din, kung paano namin tulungan si coach Jason.”
“’Di ko sinasabing hindi siya magaling or wala siyang experience,” he added. “Talagang nagkakataon lang siguro na talo kami, pero okay naman yung tinuturo niya sa amin eh. Maganda rin naman. So nasa amin ding player minsan kung gagawin namin yung gusto niya o hindi, kasi minsan ganun yung ginagawa din namin eh.”
Pingris can't help but compare the current Star situation with the watch of former coach Tim Cone.
“Nami-miss ko rin yung mga ganun, kasi kahit kay coach Ryan (Gregorio) dati ganun yung nangyari samin dati, kinakausap din ako,” said Pingris, one of the longest serving stars of the storied franchise.
“Hindi ko sinasabing hindi ako kinakausap ni coach Jason. Kinakausap niya rin ako pero iba talaga si coach Tim Cone na konting pagkakamali ko lang talaga, parang basic, magsimula ka sa ganito, ganyan gawin mo.”
The harmony between current coach and players and coach will be tested anew when the Hotshots, led by import Denzel Bowles, face a perennial contender in the Elasto Painters, parading the reigning Commissioner’s Cup Best Import Wayne Chism.
“Among all imports, he was the first to come in and I think that's an indication of his desire to win a championship and defend his Best Import title,” E-Painters coach Yeng Guiao said ahead of the 5:15 p.m. encounter.
Tropang TNT and Meralco seek to follow up their opening-day wins as the sister squads collide in the first game of the double-header at 3 o’clock.