MARC Pingris is known as a defensive stalwart who worked hard to develop his offensive skills.
Now, the San Mig Coffee star power forward is adding some playmaking to his repertoire.
Pingris continued to display his improved passing prowess on Wednesday when the Mixers survived Rain or Shine, 77-76, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum to gain a 2-1 lead in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
With his offense sputtering, the 32-year-old pride of Pozorrubio, Pangasinan involved his teammates more and that resulted in five assists.
“Pag kaya naman, talagang pinu-push ko yung sarili ko na (gumawa sa opensa). Pero pag may nakita akong open, talagang binibigay ko,” he said after the game.
“Kanina medyo maalat rin tayo, so binibigay ko talaga yung bola,” added the Gilas Pilipinas standout, who, in one of the few times in the playoffs, was held to single digits in scoring with seven points on 3-of-9 shooting, along with six turnovers.
And the playmaking of Pingris, who did haul down eight boards, was not lost on Mixers coach Tim Cone.
“He played really smart, gave us another edge by making some brilliant passes in the post and in the perimeter,” the American mentor said. “He was our best threat and that kept their defense honest against Ping.”
Pingris actually leads in the assists department in the finals, averaging five in three games.
He is also the most used player in the Finals, averaging 35 minutes in the first three games.
“Sa akin okay lang, hangga’t kaya ko, kasi wala eh. Ibubuhos mo talaga ’to. Kung gusto mong makuha ’tong series na ’to, kailangan ibuhos mo na kung anong natitira dahil ang hirap talaga pumasok ng Finals,” said the five-time champion, who is in his ninth Finals appearance.