INCHEON, South Korea - Marc Pingris could only described in three words the basketball being used in the cage competition of the 2014 Asian Games here.
“Pang-inter-barangay,” was his response to Spin.ph when asked about the brand of basketball Gilas Pilipinas will be using when it clashes with India in its debut game in the quadrennial meet on Tuesday.
Star, a Korean brand, will be supplying all the match balls to be used in the Asiad, including basketball. Obviously, the ball is different from Molten, which is the official ball being used in Fiba-sanctioned tournaments.
And one player who’s not obviously not a fan of it is Pingris, who admitted not having used the kind of ball since playing street ball during his younger days.
“Parang pang-larong kanto. Matigas at madulas,” said Pingris, who rose to stardom playing in small school leagues in his native Pozzurubio, Pangasinan.
He is not the only one who’s complaining.
“Oh men, the ball is horrible,” said Jay Washington, who made the trip here to watch and support Gilas Pilipinas as part of its training pool. “I feel like it’s the ball that I used to play when I was 10 years old. Hard, slippery, and a little smaller than our ball too. It’s an adjustment. It’s also a little bit heavier and there is really no touch on it.”
“It’s pretty slippery and it’s pretty hard to get a grip on,” head coach Chot Reyes said of the basketball. “The boys are telling me, lalo na kapag nabasa daw, it’s really hard to control.”
Reyes said the nationals could have adjusted to the ball earlier had they learned it’s the one going to be used in the Asiad.
“We had wished that we had known that earlier. If we knew that earlier, we can do something about it,” said the Gilas coach.
“The weight, I’m not concerned about, but the grip. That’s the big difference,” he added.
Paul Lee, however, just shrugs off the different brand of ball to be used, confident the team can adjust to it on time.
“’Yun talaga ang gagamitin namin. Dapat masanay na kami. May oras pa naman kami,” said the controversial combo guard, who just recently re-signed a two-year contract with Rain or Shine.