Marc Pingris given week off, Alex Mallari benched in Star tune-up for coming in late
Alex Mallari sat out the tune-up game against NLEX after coming in late due to traffic. Jerome Ascano

MARC Pingris was absent from Star’s tune-up game against NLEX on Tuesday at Ronac gym in San Juan.

But it’s not what you think.

The Hotshots big man who has been recently linked to trade rumors was given a week off to recover from a grueling stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba Asia Championship in China.

“We’ll see him on Monday,” Star coach Jason Webb said.

Alex Mallari, another Star player rumored to be on the trading block in the past, was present, but didn’t see action as the rising star arrived late for the game due to traffic.

“Sa team rules namin, basta late, walang laro,” Webb said.

Despite their absence, the Hotshots escaped with a 75-73 win thanks to a tip-in by Rafi Reavis at the buzzer.

[See Star Hotshots looking good in tune-up games]

The Hotshots’ reward, though, was to run a few laps of suicides after some designated players missed their charities after the game.

“The thing is when they miss (a free throw), they run. I think Ian (Sangalang) missed six free throws,” Webb said.

The rookie mentor upped the ante by betting that Sangalang would miss two more free throws. The promising big man made two, so the coaching staff as well as the utility also ran a few laps.

“Pumusta ako na if he makes two, takbo kami, but if he misses, takbo sila,” Webb said with a smile.

[See Is Star 'no more trade' vow assurance enough that Pingris is staying put?]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos