DESPITE hobbled by a rib injury, the challenge of trying to contain Air21 import Wesley Witherspoon remains imbedded within San Mig star Marc Pingris.
After witnessing how Witherspoon torched the Mixers for 32 points behind an 8-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc in a 94-91 Game Four victory by the Express on Monday night, Pingris vowed to make the import bleed for every point when the two teams meet again in the sudden-death for a berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
“Talagang gusto ko i-challenge yung import sa Game Five. Tingnan ko kung ganun pa rin laro niya,” said Pingris after the game.
The veteran forward expects an all-out war in the do-or-die game set Wednesday.
“War,” he said with a smile. “Talagang gulo ‘to. I mean hindi sapakan o ano, talagang alam ko ibibigay nila yung one-hundred percent nila at ganun din kami. So labanan lang. kung sino mas gutom at kung sino yung naka-focus (siya ang mananalo).
Offensively, Pingris wound up with just six points on four attempts, six rebounds, although he dished out five assists and one steal in 38 minutes of play.
Still, he felt the Express were just lucky for hitting their outside shots, allowing them to set a franchise record of 15 three-pointers.
“Sobra talagang swerte nila kanina. Kahit sino tumira talagang pumapasok. Hopefully next game hindi na.”
Aside from Witherspoon, Mark Borboran was also on target with two treys, while Joseph Yeo, Mac Cardona, Aldrech Ramos, Simon Atkins, and Jonas Villanueva chipped in one apiece.
Cone meanwhile said the Mixers are sticking to their game plan of putting Pingris on Witherspoon.
The San Mig coach said he’s still counting on his most reliable defender to put the clamps on the Air21 reinforcement.
“We have a real good sense of what Ping has to give, but no matter what, he’s our best matchup to Witherspoon,” Cone stressed. “He’s the only guy who has the size and the quickness to play him.”
“I can’t imagine putting somebody else on him and Ping will do a better job next time,” the most-titled PBA mentor added.