Selfless Pingris showcases less-recognized facet of game with eight assists
Marc Pingris: “Ako naman, hindi naman ako yung player na ipipilit ko eh. Kung may mas open sa akin, masaya ako pag nakakatira ng maayos yung teammates ko." Marlo Cueto

MARC Pingris has long made a name on defense as a three-time PBA Defensive Player of the Year, and a steady offensive player after joining the 5,000-point club last September.

But the veteran power forward continued to add weapons to his arsenal, showing he can also set teammates up in Magnolia’s 78-72 win over Blackwater in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday night.

Pingris dished out a game-high eight assists that completed another workmanlike effort of 12 rebounds, four points, one steal, and one block in 31 minutes as a starter.

“Laking tuwa ko na mabigyan ko lang ng assist yung mga teammate ko, masaya na ako dun eh,” the 36-year-old cager said. “Hindi ko hinahanap yung ako yung magbe-best player o top scorer, kasi maraming scorer sa amin. Tina-try ko rin kanina (umiskor), pero dino-double talaga ako.

“Ako naman, hindi naman ako yung player na ipipilit ko eh,” he added. “Kung may mas open sa akin, masaya ako pag nakakatira ng maayos yung teammates ko.

“So binibilang kanina ni Paul (Lee) yung rebounds tsaka assists ko. Sabi ko, ‘Paul, bilangin mo. Yan ang tatrabahuhin ko tonight,’” he continued. “At least nagawa ko naman yung trabaho ko.”

Pingris’ most important assist came with 56 seconds remaining in the payoff period when, in a post-up position, he fed a cutting Ian Sangalang for the go-ahead jumphook.

“Hindi naman ako swapang,” Pingris said. “Gusto ko rin tulungan yung mga teammate ko, binibigyan ko rin kasi sila ng confidence sa sarili nila na hindi porke’t kami yung seniors dito, kami lang yung i-iskor.

“Kailangan ma-share namin yung bola sa inyo at ipakita niyo rin na kaya niyo,” he added.

As a result, four Hotshots scored at least eight points each as the balanced scoring effort made up for the absence of the injured Lee.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos