MARC Pingris continued to conspire with Rafi Reavis in forming Magnolia’s veteran presence in the paint as they came through for the Hotshots’ 97-91 win over Phoenix in the PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday night.
While the young Ian Sangalang has been carrying the offensive load down low, the 36-year-old Pingris and 40-year-old Reavis handled the defensive end with their ever-reliable rebounding with Pingris hauling down 17 boards and Reavis grabbing 11.
Pingris and Reavis each plucked a crucial offensive rebound in the final seconds, resulting in the latter scoring on a putback off a Paul Lee miss that gave the Hotshots a 95-91 lead with 16 seconds left.
Pingris commended Reavis not just for his inside presence, but his leadership off the court.
“You know naman Rafi eh, katulad ko rin yan eh – rebound and depensa,” Pingris said. “At tsaka sobrang vocal siya sa team eh. Walang siyang inaano, talagang sinasabihan niya kung sino yung mga nagmi-mistake, kung paano kami mag-adjust, so nakikinig naman lahat sa kanya.
“Talagang nandun yung respeto namin kay Rafi,” he added.
Asked if Reavis still has a lot left in tank in his bid to chase the great Sonny Jaworski, who played the most games in the PBA, Pingris believes so.
“Nasa kanya yun, basta kaya mo ba eh,” Pingris said. “As a player, kung masipag ka naman at may disiplina sa sarili mo, kaya niya yun.”
Staying injury-free is also crucial not just for Reavis – but for the entire Hotshots squad this conference, for starters.
“Lagi kami nagdadasal na sana wala ng ma-injure sa team, dahil pag may na-injury sa team, talagang adjustment talaga eh, si coach, sa mga players,” Pingris said. “So pag buo kami, mas okay yung team, talagang may laban. Kumpletos rekados sinasabi ni coach, so I hope na walang ma-injury.”