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    Nards Pinto names the toughest PBA players to guard

    Check out Pinto's Top 3
    Mar 20, 2023
    Nards Pinto defense
    Nards Pinto has earned his reputation as a stopper.
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño | PBA Images

    NOT a few fans raised their eyebrows over Nards Pinto becoming a PBA All-Star this year.

    But no one can question the veteran playmaker for his defensive prowess, embracing the dirty work long before becoming one of the league’s top perimeter stoppers today.

    “Nung college naman din kasi, dumedepensa na din naman talaga ako eh,” the former Arellano star said on SPIN Zoom In. “So siguro yung role na binibigay sa’kin dito (sa Ginebra), yun yung kailangan eh. So kailangan ko talaga i-develop or kailangan ko tutukan.”

    The eight-year point guard did try his best when the Gin Kings put him as the first line of defense against prolific Bay Area import Myles Powell in the last Commissioner’s Cup Finals.

    But while Pinto has done a solid job on Powell and the rest of his assignments, there are some players who are simply tougher to guard than others.

    Here’s his Top 3.

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    Nards Pinto on toughest PBA players to guard

    Mikey Williams

    Mikey Williams TNT vs Ginebra

    Pinto has already proven he can make life difficult for the TNT star if their matchup in the 2021 Governors’ Cup quarterfinals was any indication.

    The Ginebra guard frustrated the 2021 PBA scoring champion, factoring heavily in the sixth-seeded Gin Kings overcoming the Tropang Giga’s twice-to-beat edge on the way to ruling the season-ending conference.

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    Still, Pinto considers Williams as the toughest player to guard in the league right now.

    “Sobrang galing eh. Grabe din, ang hirap depensahan. Sobrang skilled,” Pinto said of the Fil-Am combo guard.

    Jayson Castro

    Another TNT star, Castro is no spring chicken at 36, but he’ll always The Blur.

    Pinto can attest to the blinding speed of the five-time Best Player of the Conference and one of the PBA’s 40 Greatest Players.

    “Sobrang bilis eh. Pag naiwan ka na, diretso-diretso na,” Pinto said.

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      Stanley Pringle

      Pinto didn’t have to go far to complete his shortlist.

      “Kahit nung time na nagkakalaban kami, sobrang galing. Pagnaka, like sa jump shot, pag duma-drive, ang hirap mo (pigilan) sa shaded lane,” Pinto said of his Ginebra teammate.

      In his prime, Pringle was almost unstoppable, leading the league in scoring in 2018 and becoming a two-time Mythical First Team member and the 2020 Best Player of the Conference.

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      These days, Pringle, who turns 36 on March 5, is taking it easier on Pinto in practices.

      “Iba na ngayon. Iba sa practice at sa game. kasi noon, sobrang go hard sa game. syempre medyo sa practice, kahit papaano, hindi na masyado,” Pinto concluded.

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      Nards Pinto has earned his reputation as a stopper.
      PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño | PBA Images
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