USUALLY, it’s the youngsters who have to follow the lead of the veterans for a team to gain cohesion - and eventually achieve success.
But Marc Pingris believes it should also be the other way around at Star: the veterans learning to accept advice from their younger teammates for the Hotshots to regain lost glory in the PBA.
Despite the Hotshots retooling in the offseason after putting up underwhelming performances last season, new coach Chito Victolero stressed they remain a young team that still needs seasoning.
“We need to have mental toughness in the end. Individually, marami kaming veterans. As a group, hindi pa kami ganun,” Victolero said after the 88-77 win over TNT KaTropa on Sunday night. “As a group, (kailangan) maging beterano kami.”
“The close game against Ginebra, the OT game against Alaska, I think yun ang magdadala sa amin sa mga ganitong laro ulit,” he added, referring to their seven-point loss to the Gin Kings on Christmas Day and another seven-point loss to the Aces last Wednesday. “Hopefully sa next game namin, we treat that na katulad ng game na ito (vs TNT).”
The Hotshots finally showed maturity down the stretch on Sunday night by keeping the Texters at bay. TNT never came closer than seven points in the payoff period.
And their trust in one another, Pingris believes, is what’s translating into wins.
“Ang sabi lang naman ni coach na maging vocal lang naman kami, kausapin ng kausapin yung iba, and then willing din naman kami makinig sa mga rookie,” Pingris said. “Kumbaga pantay-pantay lang naman 'yung tinginan dito eh."
“Kung may nadadapa na isa, kailangan buhatin mo para pag kami naman yung nadapa, kami naman yung bubuhatin nila,” he added.
Pingris, who contributed seven points and eight boards in 26 minutes off the bench against TNT, is well aware that it’s a long way to go.
“Sabi ni coach na hindi kami pwede mag-celebrate dahil may gusto kaming puntahan,” the Hotshots star forward said as his team moved back to .500 with a 4-4 win-loss record. “Ang madalas niyang sinasabi, be humble lang. May mga malalakas pa tayong kalaban.”