MARC Pingris was all defense and no offense when he first came over to the PBA more than a decade ago.
And so how did he turn into an aggressive offensive player?
Pingris said he just played according to his strength – defense – and from there everything followed especially when he began playing for coach Tim Cone at Star.
“Dati puro depensa lang ako, hanggang ngayon. Sa totoo lang, under coach Tim lang ako natuto na umopensa,” Pingris told Spin.ph while making sure the conversation is loud enough for Japeth Aguilar to hear now that the Barangay Ginebra big man will be playing under Cone.
The outspoken Star Hotshots forward reiterated the most important thing a new player of Cone should learn is play defense.
“Dapat masipag ka sa depensa. Gagamitin ka niya ng gagamitin,” he advised Aguilar.
Pingris believes Cone puts premium on players who give their all in preventing the opposing team from scoring - something which he said should not be lost on Aguilar.
Turning to Aguilar, Pingris said: “Kay coach Tim kasi kailangan magtrabaho ka sa depensa, tulad mo Japeth, defensive player ka. Tumutok ka muna run, saka na sa opensa. Magugustuhan ka ni coach Tim.
“Kami lang eh. Gamit na gamit kami kay coach Tim dahil nakikita niya na nagpapakamatay talaga kami para pigilang maka-shoot ang kalaban,” added the pride of Pozzorubio, Pangasinan.
The third overall pick in the 2004 draft, Pingris said it’s logical to focus playing more on defense under Cone's famed triangle offense.
“Kasi sa triangle, magiging madali ang opensa para sa yo. Iikot ng iikot ang bola eh,” he told Aguilar.
Pingris also believes that under Cone's system, big men like Aguilar and 6-11 center Gregory Slaughter will flourish and become dominant players in the league.
“Gagaling kayo kay coach Tim. Basta sumunod lang kayo sa kanya. Simple lang naman gusto nun, depensa at magpakita ka ng puso sa ensayo at bawat laro,” he said.
Aguilar responded: “Oo, nakikita ko nga na strikto siya pero makakaganda sa amin. Salamat sa advice kuya.”
And before leaving the Spin.ph activity where he and Aguilar were joined by fellow Gilas Pilipinas mainstays Gabe Norwood and Jayson Castro, the energetic forward warned Aguilar and the rest of the Ginebra team to brace for more work.
“Next week sigurado nyan, twice a day na ensayo niyo. Tapos maghanda na kayo, kasi kay coach Tim, walang mahal na araw at Pasko, ensayo kayo,” he said smiling.
“Pero ano naman ngayon, di ba? Basta ba nasa finals ka lagi at playoffs, hindi mo na mapapansin ang pagod. Good luck sa inyo ang ganda ng future ng team nyo,” said Pingris.