Marc Pingris admits back-to-back Purefoods slip-ups still hard to accept
Marc Pingris and the Hotshots are back-to-back Governors' Cup winners but are not the top favorites considering their dismal performances in the first two conferences. Jerome Ascano 

MARC Pingris admitted it isn’t easy to accept that Purefoods Star is no longer king of the hill in the PBA after losing its Philippine Cup and Commissioner’s Cup crowns.

But he's hoping the Hotshots will climb back up soon.

Purefoods returned to practice on Monday and Pingris likes to believe the energy, grit and focus are back, saying everyone is eager to win and keep the one remaining title still in their hands — the Governnors Cup.

“Basta ang gusto lang namin, maibalik 'yung dating laro namin. Iyung energy namin, kasi yun ang nawala,” Pingris told

The 6-foot-5 defensive specialist said the team’s 3-1 semifinal loss to Talk ‘N Text in the Commissioner’s Cup was a bitter pill to swallow since it unmasked Purefoods Star’s weakness on defense.

“Iyung three straight losses namin sa TNT, sobrang sakit. Alam din ng mga teammates ko 'yan. Kasi yung dating mga championships na alam na namin ginagawa namin lalo na sa defense, ngayon parang nawawala na,” he added.

Athletic import Marqus Blakely will be back to help the Hotshots win a third successive Governors Cup crown, but even the former Best Import’s presence won’t guarantee anything, according to Pingris.

“Kahit anong galing ng import mo, kapag walang suporta ng locals, bale wala 'yun. Nandun pa rin yung dapat nagtu-tulungan kami.  Hindi puwedeng siya lang ang inaasahan,” explained the former PSBA Blue Jaguars forward.

Purefoods coach Tim Cone gave his team a three-day break starting on Friday, before returning to practice on Monday as the team continues its preparation for the season-ending conference.

Playmaker Mark Barroca said the it will still be work for him during the three-day break because they can't afford to be complacent at this point.

“Mahaba break namin, pero kailangan pa rin naming magpa-kundisyon,” said Barroca.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava