Ailing Marc Pingris braces for tough match-up against 'bigger version' of Blakely
Marc Pingris has missed Purefoods' last two practices due to fever. Jerome Ascano

AN ailing Marc Pingris is bracing himself as he expects to go up against someone who he describes as a bigger version of Marcus Blakely when Purefoods clashes with Meralco in a battle between the top two teams of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Pingris has been under the weather the past two days and skipped the Hotshots’ two practices prior to their 7 p.m. encounter with the Bolts at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Nilalagnat nga ako ngayon so past two days di ako nag-ensayo,” the 6-foot-5 Pingris told on Thursday.

Sick or not, Pingris admitted he’s looking forward to playing against Meralco import Josh Davis.

“Magaling 'yung import nila (Bolts). Sobrang energy guy. Pinag-uusapan nga namin, parang pinalaki mo lang na Marqus Blakely saka all-around since masipag sa depensa,” noted the 11-time All-Defensive Team member.

Pingris added since the left-handed Davis packs a lot of energy on the floor, the Hotshots will have to match the former San Diego State standout’s intensity to keep pace with Meralco.

“Kailangan ma-stop yung import nila, though di iyan magagawa ng isang player lang. Kailangang limang player kami maglalaro,” he added.

Although under the weather, Pingris still showed up for practice to make sure he knows what coach Tim Cone plans to do against the Bolts.

A win doesn’t necessarily guarantee the defending champions a top two spots and twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs. Instead, the Hotshots will have to wait for the outcome of Talk ‘N Text and Rain or Shine’s remaining elimination round games.

Rain or Shine currently sports a 6-3 record and will have Blackwater (on Friday) and KIA (on Sunday) as its last two opponents.

On the other hand, Talk ‘N Text will play Alaska in its last elimination-round assignment on Sunday.

Other than Pingris, veteran slotman Rafi Reavis is also expected to play a key defensive role against the athletic Davis.

Pingris also said the memory of the Hotshots’ Philippine Cup playoff debacle against the Bolts remains fresh.

“Hindi namin kinalimutan 'yun (Hotshots’ quarterfinal loss to the Bolts) kanina sa practice,” said Pingris. “Alam ko gusto rin nila mag-number one, pero kami rin gusto namin.”

On the other hand, Blakely, who helped Purefoods get off to a 3-0 start as stand-in import, believes the Hotshots are slowly gaining the momentum they need heading to the playoffs.

“Right now, I think we’re hitting our stride. We’re getting the momentum and getting more comfortable,” noted Blakely, who will serve as the Hotshots’ import for the season-ending Governors Cup.


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