MARC Pingris brimmed with optimism as he hopes wearing a different name on their jersey in the upcoming PBA season would open a door to a new beginning for the Magnolia Chicken Hotshots.
Saddled by multiple semifinals exits over the past few conferences with the Star brand, Pingris saw the shift to Magnolia as a sign that this would be the season where they go over the hump and return to a familiar place—the finals.
"New season, you know, maraming malalakas na team ngayon but 'yung focus talaga namin, katulad ng sinabi ni coach, is 'yung conditioning namin as a team," said Pingris as they unveiled the new name of their of franchise on Monday.
"Talagang sobrang napako kami sa semis ngayon. Ngayon naman, target talaga namin is sana, sana, hopefully, sana maka-Finals naman kami. Alam namin na mabibigat 'yung mga makakalaban, but andoon 'yung puso namin talaga na gusto talaga naming mag-Finals," he added.
Pingris admitted that they have a tall order ahead of them, considering the formidable lineups of their foes, but the longtime national team mainstay believes that their hunger and hardwork would be enough for them to overcome the odds.
"Sobrang gutom na itong team na ito. 'Yun lang ang lagi kong sinasabi sa team, every practice, kailangan 'yung game namin before, kailangan malagpasan namin 'yun," Pingris continued.
"Ayun lang 'yung talagang panlaban namin ngayon sa mga malalakas na team."
The pressure is definitely on them as none other than franchise legend and team manager Alvin Patrimonio will be coming in with heavy expectations for the team.
Speaking in the launch, Patrimonio said in jest that name changes usually result to championships for the storied franchise.
The 36-year-old vet, though, is all business as he is willing to do everything to live up to the expectations considering he's fully recovered now from his hip injury.
“Siyempre nape-pressure kami 'di ba, but 'yun naman ang talagang ano eh.. Kumbaga, kaya kami andito sa team na 'to, yun ang gusto namin, 'yung challenge talaga," said Pingris.