SAN Mig Super Coffee coach Tim Cone is giving Marc Pingris three weeks off after his Gilas Pilipinas stint, which means the do-it-all forward will not rejoin the Mixers until after the start of the new PBA season.
Cone said he has been discussing Pingris’ schedule with team members, who agree to make some sacrifices in order to give the San Mig power forward the rest he needs after he is finished with his Gilas commitments.
Pingris, who has had a loaded schedule since the Mixers’ grand slam to the Fiba World Cup up to the Asian Games, sat out the crucial match against Kazakhstan in Incheon on Sunday.
The 6-foot-5 Pingris has played through a painful Achilles heel injury and sprained ankle, which he sustained in last month’s Fiba World Cup in Seville, Spain.
“Right now, we’re looking at giving him three weeks (break), so he won’t even be here (in practice) for three weeks, but he will be Awol for three weeks because we want him to spend time with his family and take a break,” Cone told Spin.ph.
The Mixers are in Seoul for a series of tune-up matches against top teams from the Korean Basketball League before San Mig begins its quest for a fifth straight PBA crown in the Philippine Cup on October 19.
But Cone says Pingris can afford to miss the San Mig tuneup matches.
“He (Pingris) knows what we are doing. He knows our system. We’re not gonna be a doing a whole lot of new things so he can afford to miss some time,” explained Cone, the PBA’s all-time winningest coach with 18 league titles.
“The key is get him right, and more importantly, I think not physically, but mentally, get him refreshed and that’s really the key,” he added.
With Pingris set to miss the early part of the season, Cone expects third-year big man Yousef Taha to fill in the shoes of the many-time PBA All-Defensive First team member as far as providing energy and hustle is concerned.
“We’re gonna give him (Taha) all the time he needs in preseason, get him through his mistakes so he can learn and play better,” said the American coach.
“And talk about his mistakes, he can improve and grow. We need him to get better. He’ll be one of the key guys for us this conference and beyond,” he added.