NARD Pinto had been training with Meralco for just three days before the Bolts played their PBA season opener against Phoenix Pulse on Wednesday night.
So imagine Pinto’s surprise when his number was called during the late stretch of the fourth and overtime periods of Meralco’s 93-92 defeat against the Fuel Masters on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Kaya nga eh, nabibigla nga ako na bigla akong pinapasok ni coach Norman (Black),” said Pinto on Wednesday. “Ready naman ako lagi. Nakakagulat lang kasi na siyempre three days lang ako tapos crucial, ginagamit ako ni coach Norman.”
Pinto played for 16 minutes and scored three points, all on free throws, in his first-ever game with Meralco since the Bolts struck a deal with Phoenix for Jason Ballesteros and Meralco's 2020 second-round draft pick.
Prior to the trade, Pinto was already shipped by his team from last year in Blackwater to Phoenix in exchange for Joseph Eriobu.
Pinto, a former Arellano guard, said he is glad to finally have found a home with Meralco.
“Masaya naman dito sa Meralco kaso siguro nag-aadjust pa. Three days pa lang ako nagpa-practice. Siguro sana ma-adapt ko na agad ‘yung system kasi hindi naman pwede sila mag-adjust sa akin. Dapat ako mag-adjust sa kanila."
"Tinutulungan naman ako ng mga coaches at teammates ko. Good game. Maganda naman game namin. ‘Yun lang, breaks of the game. Na-rebound ni Calvin. Bounce back na lang,” said Pinto.
Pinto said he will do everything to become a contributor for the Bolts.
“Marami naman dito na magagaling. Sila Baser, mga guards na scorer. Siguro defense at ‘yung hustle na binibigay ko sa team, sana makatulong ako doon. Sana mabigay ko ‘yung best ko para kung ano man pagawa sa akin, gagawin ko. Siguro naman si coach Norman, sana ma-earn ko ‘yung respect niya dito sa Meralco,” said Pinto.