MARC Pingris is set to rejoin struggling Purefoods after a two-week break, looking to boost the Hotshots frontcourt not only by making his usual contributions but also by helping slotman Yousef Taha improve his game.
The do-it-all forward took time out from basketball after a tough stint with Gilas Pilipinas, but watched in horror as his grand slam squad got hammered by Alaska (93-73) and San Miguel Beer (87-80) to start the PBA season.
The 33-year-old Pingris has rejoined the Hotshots in practice since last Friday and intends to see action for the first time this season against GlobalPort on Friday.
Pingris, however, comes back at a time when Purefoods has been badly hit by injuries to sophomore frontliner Ian Sangalang (partial tear of ACL and MCL) and James Yap (hamstring injury).
That's the reason he is now looking at Taha to provide the help in the frontline while Sangalang is out.
He likes what he's seeing so far.
“Sobrang saya din kasi at least, nagagampanan niya trabaho namin. Na kahit wala si Ian or wala ako, nandiyan siya palagi para i-sacrifice yung katawan niya,” Pingris said.
The 26-year-old Taha, Air21’s 11th pick overall in the 2012 rookie draft, looks as if he has finally found a home at Purefoods after brief stints with Barangay Ginebra, Petron (now San Miguel), and GlobalPort.
The Fil-Kuwaiti slotman has made the most of the playing time given him this season, averaging career-high numbers of 12.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks a game.
He has played an average of 34 minutes in Purefoods' first two games.
“Sa post moves talaga, alam ko kaya naman niya eh. Minsan medyo di niya lang nakukuha kumpiyansa niya,” explained the native of Pozzorubio, Pangasinan.
“Pero sabi ko mag-start kami sa post move, yun ang warmup namin sa practice.”
Pingris is also full of praise for Taha's energy.
“Nakita mo naman yung energy niya para mag-dive sa bola,” said the seven-time PBA All-Defensive team member.