Ginebra import Sanchir Tungalag breaches language barrier by letting game do the talking
Mongolian import Sanchir Tungalag (pictured with his interpreter) says it is the summer heat, more than the language barrier, that has proven challenging in his first few weeks with Ginebra. Richard Dy

MONGOLIAN import Sanchir Tungalag may not be able to express himself well in English, but he let his game do the talking during Barangay Ginebra’s 100-89 victory over PBA D-League team Cebuana Lhuillier on Saturday in a tuneup match at Green Meadows.

With Ginebra playing minus resident stars Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio and Chris Ellis, Sanchir made the most of the minutes he had by wowing the sparse Ginebra crowd with his accurate shooting and confident approach to the game.

“Sanchir played well nung scrimmage namin sa Cebuana. Okay naman siya at naka-25 points siya. That’s one-fourth of our production at may tira sa labas eh,” Ginebra’s new coach Frankie Lim told on Monday after the team’s practice at Gatorade Hoops Center.

Even Ginebra superstar Mark Caguioa was impressed with Sanchir’s ability to understand the play whenever Lim gives him a specific instruction, easing fears that the language barrier is keeping the Mongolian national team member from blending with the rest of the team.

“Sanchir can understand. Hindi naman talaga siya 'yung hirap na hirap (umintindi). Kung titingnan mo siya sa sasabihin ni coach, he knows what to do. Hindi siya nahihirapan,” said Caguioa.

The 26-year-old Mongolian shooter said the summer heat was the biggest adjustment he had to make when he arrived more than a week ago.

But now that he has settled down, Sanchir explained he has already buckled down to work in the hope of helping the Gin Kings end their seven-year PBA title drought.

“Of course, Barangay Ginebra is the most famous team in the PBA. I’m really happy to play in the PBA and I will try my best to help my team improve and get the championship,” Sanchir said through an interpreter.

The native of Ulan Bator is also happy to play alongside Tenorio and Aguilar, mainstays of Gilas Pilipinas the last two years who he had faced during last year’s Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

The 6-foot-3 Sanchir banged in 15 points and grabbed five rebounds in the consolation game as Mongolia bowed to Gilas Pilipinas, 84-68 in the battle for seventh place in the Asian Games last year.

The 185-pound Sanchir is considered one of Mongolia’s best players today, averaging 16.6 points and 5.6 rebounds for the national team in the Asian Games last year in Incheon.

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