SAN Mig Coffee forward Marc Pingris has barely taken a rest in between conferences as he aims to be in the best of shape when Gilas Pilipinas competes in the Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Manila this August.
Aware that only the top three countries earn slots to next year’s world championships in Spain, Pingris said he only took two days off after San Mig's semifinal exit in the PBA Commissioner's Cup before plunging back to the gym to keep himself in shape for Gilas.
“Nag-two days off lang ako tapos balik na sa weights saka plyo (plyomentrics) para ma-maintain ko condition ko. Ayaw ko mapagod maghabol (in conditioning),” Pingris told Spin.ph over the weekend.
The 6-5 Pingris said he knows the Fiba-Asia showpiece is a far different competition compared to the previous international competitions he had in the past.
The 31-year-old San Mig forward played for the RP Youth squad in 2000 under then head coach Boycie Zamar in the Fiba-Asia Young Men’s championship, where he played alongside future PBA players Ranidel de Ocampo and Bitoy Omolon.
He also played for a hastily-formed national squad that placed eighth among nine countries in the 2004 Jones Cup in Taipei.
“Nakalaro na naman ako before sa RP Youth at may nakalaban din kaming 7-2 ang laki, pero iba na ito (Fiba-Asia men’s championships). Dito malalakas talaga ang mga kalaban. Parang equivalent ng five imports agad makakalaban namin sa court,” said Pingris.
Asked what made him decide to forego vacation and play for Gilas, he said: “Matagal na ako kinukuha ni coach Chot (Reyes). And nag-decide ako na habang bata pa ako, go ako. Get experience din. Minsan lang tayo maglaro ng ganito para sa bansa. Balang araw, wala na itong ganitong opportunity.”
Pingris is one of 13 members of the Gilas training pool which will leave next Sunday (June 2) for the Baltic town of Palanga in Lithuania for a two-week training camp and tuneup matches with Lithuanian club teams.
“Laging sinasabi sa amin ni coach, pakundisyon lang kami, dapat fresh ang legs namin lagi,” said the many-time PBA All-Defensive team member who averaged 7.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists in the Commissioner’s Cup.