MARC Pingris has so much respect for NBA veteran Al Thornton that he admitted watching a lot of video clips of the import to prepare for him in Purefoods’ PBA Commissioner’s Cup game against NLEX on Wednesday night.
“Pinanood ko mga games niya (Thornton) nung nasa NBA pa siya. Sobrang matigas, saka beterano,” Pingris said of Thorton, picked 14th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2007 NBA Draft.
With the 33-year-old Pingris holding Thornton to his lowest output in the league, Purefoods steamrolled past NLEX, 87-62 for its fourth straight victory in the mid-season tournament.
A seven-time All-Defensive first team member, the 6-foot-5 Pingris said he thrives in challenges, noting that Thornton, a 2008 All-NBA Rookie team, gave him enough reason to be fired up going to the game.
“Alam niyo naman ako, ito ang trabaho ko, saka ito ang gustong-gusto ko, kasi kapag bibigay sa akin ang magagaling na player, ginaganahan din ako, kahit alam kong mapapagod ako,” he said.
Statistically, Pingris backed up his claim by holding the highly-touted NLEX import to just 11 points on an atrocious 3-of-14 shooting from the floor.
However, Pingris refused to get sole credit for the fine defensive job on Thornton, citing the solid help defense of new Purefoods import Daniel Orton on the former NBA star.
“Nag-usap din kami kasi ni coach (Tim Cone) at sabi niya, magtiwala lang ako. at dalhin ko lang siya (Thornton) kay Daniel,” he added.
Unbeaten in four starts, Purefoods shares the top spot with idle Meralco in the standings, though Pingris was the first to say the Hotshots still have a long way to go in their quest for a back-to-back Commissioner’s Cup title.
“Hindi pa kami satisfied kasi gusto naming pumasok uli ng semis dahil na-miss namin yun. Nawala sa amin yun last conference,” explained Pingris.