Kung puso ang pag-uusapan, walang katumbas ang laki ng puso ng isang competitor na kagaya ni Marc Pingris, ang nag-iisang Pinoy Sakuragi.
Since 2013, Marc Pingris has become an integral part of the Gilas Pilipinas program and has joined the team competing in the FIBA Asia Championship where the national squad finished silver and qualified for the FIBA World Cup.
He competed in the FIBA World Cup, the only time the Philippine quintet qualified to the world stage since 1974, in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, in the William Jones Cup and all the way to the Olympic Qualifying event last year.
Pingris believes it is time to change the landscape of the national team representing the country in elite tournaments.
“Nagpapasalamat ako kay Coach, pero sa akin ibigay na natin sa mga mas bata,” Pingris said. “I’m happy naging part ako ng Gilas, I’m happy ini-invite ako, tinext niya ako. Kami kasi kahit gusto naming maglaro may edad na kami eh.”
Bagamat kaya niya pang sumabak sa laban, nais niyang magbigay daan sa mga mas bata at mas energetic na manlalaro na maari pang makapagsilbi sa national team sa susunod na dalawang taon.
Sending young players to play in international competitions, according to Pingris, has become the trend for the past few years.
China, for example, sent its developmental team in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship in Manila. The team failed to make it to the semis, but bounced back two years after, right on its home soil, when it defeated the Philippines for the gold medal and qualified outright to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Last year, Iran sent a young team to surround Hamed Haddadi when the perennial Asian powerhouse squad played in Turin, Italy for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
“Kasi sa ibang bansa, tini-train nila yung mga bata. Para makuha nila agad yung style ng laro sa FIBA. Nakikipag-tune up game sila sa ibang bansa. Hanggat maari, i-train natin yung mga bata,” he added.
Pero hindi isinasara ni Pingris ang pagsuporta sa Gilas Pilipinas at willing siyang turuan ang mga mas batang big men na lalaro sa national team sa nalalapit na SEABA Men’s Basketball Championship.
“Willing akong magturo ng mga batang big men,” added Pingris. “Sa palagay ko doon ako makakatulong. Basta kapag ininvite ako ni Coach para tumulong na turuan yung mga batang big men gagawin ko.”
Showing his veteran smarts and leadership at the start of the brand new conference, Star playmaker Mark Barroca emerged as the second Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week after leading the Hotshots to a 2-0 start in the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup.
The 5-10 Barroca beat Star teammate Peter June Simon, Meralco young guard Baser Amer and Jared Dillinger, Rain or Shine sophomore point guard Maverick Ahanmishi, Mahindra’s Ryan Arana, Alaska rookie forward Carl Cruz and TNT’s Jayson Castro for the weekly citation for the period of March 20-26.
Stepping up in place of combo guard Paul Lee, who is playing through a knee injury, Barroca came off the bench to provide the much needed spark, firing 17 points and adding 2 steals in 23 minutes as Star debuted this conference with a 101-82 rout of Phoenix last Wednesday.
Three days later, Barroca churned out an all-around effort of 8 points, 5 rebounds, the same number of assists and 2 steals, while helping Star contain 2-time PBA Scoring champion Terrence Romeo as the Hotshots registered a runaway 103-77 demolition of GlobalPort.
The Hotshots join the Meralco Bolts (3-0), defending champion Rain or Shine (3-0) and Alaska Aces (2-0) as the unbeaten squads this conference. San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra are the two remaining teams that have yet to see action this conference after figuring in the best-of-seven championship series in the Philippine Cup last month.
Barroca, the 2014 Philippine Cup Finals MVP, is expected to play a bigger role for a Star side that is looking to make a fitting follow-up to its semi-final appearance in the Philippine Cup where it eventually lost to Barangay Ginebra in seven games.
Star has several days to prepare, before returning to action against winless NLEX this Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Coaches Leo Austria, Tim Cone and Chito Victolero are tapped to handle the three PBA selections going up against coach Chot Reyes and Gilas Pilipinas in the 2017 PBA All-Star festivities, featuring a leg each in Cagayan de Oro, Lucena and Cebu late next month.
Victolero calls the shots for the PBA Mindanao selection in Cagayan de Oro on April 26, Austria holds the rein in the Luzon squad in the Lucena game on April 28 then Cone takes the saddle on the Visayan All Stars in the Cebu match on April 30.
The three earned the honors to be this year’s PBA All-Star coaches for steering their respective PBA teams to top three finish in the recently concluded Philippine Cup.
Cone is a record holder as an eight-time PBA All-Star coach, ahead of Robert Jaworski and Derrick Pumaren who had five appearances each in the annual mid-season classic.
Austria is as an All-Star coach for the third straight year while Victolero is making his debut in the keenly awaited event.
Austria will have at his disposal 2016 All-Star MVP Alex Cabagnot, Japeth Aguilar, Terrence Romeo, Marc Pingris, Calvin Abueva, Mark Caguioa, Jayson Castro, Paul Lee and Arwind Santos.
The Visayan squad will be bannered by June Mar Fajardo, James Yap, Jeff Chan, Asi Taulava and Joe Devance.
Mac Belo, Carlo Lastimosa, Mike Tolomia, Scottie Thompson, Jio Jalalon, PJ Simon, Mark Barroca and RR Garcia are in the Mindanao team.
The skills competitions, including the three-point shootout and the dunk contest, will be featured in Lucena.
Meanwhile, various outreach programs are set in Cagayan de Oro and in Cebu.
The North All-Stars bested their Southern counterparts in the last two editions of the spectacle.
Gilas Pilipinas, meanwhile, triumphed over the PBA All-Stars, 101-93, in its last appearance in the All-Star event.
TNT KaTropa took to heart its five-point loss to Meralco the last time out and blasted Phoenix Petroleum, 134-109, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo Sunday night.
Jayson Castro, taking an extended rest in their game against the Bolts, finally plunged back into action and was among the Ka Tropa who churned out sterling effort in the handing the Fuel Masters another blowout loss.
Castro and his teammates pummeled the Fuel Masters badly in the middle quarters to open a 100-75 spread going into the final canto.
And the Ka Tropa just refused to get their feet off the pedal, dealing the Fuel Masters the 25-point defeat, four nights after Star crushed Phoenix, 101-82.
Phoenix is now at 1-2, its win coming at the expense of Blackwater with the help of then fill-in import Eugene Phelps.
Jameel McKay had a solid showing but didn’t get the needed support from the Phoenix local crew against the Ka Tropa who were hard to stop with their torrid shooting.
All TNT starters – Castro, Lou Amundson, Ranidel de Ocampo, Ryan Reyes and RR Pogoy – and second stringers Troy Rosario, Moala Tautuaa and Kelly Williams came up with double-digit outputs.
The Ka Tropa finished with a conference-high output with Harvey Carey, Kris Rosales, Levi Hernandez and Larry Fonacier having their contributions.
Amundson delivered 20 points and eight rebounds in what could well be his farewell game in the local pro league. Donte Greene is likely to take over in TNT’s next game.
Castro came up with 10 points, seven assists and three rebounds and the Ka Tropa hit at a remarkable 55-percent shooting as TNT sat on a 59-48 cushion at halftime.
McKay produced 15 points but Phoenix struggled with an 18-of-49 clip (36 percent) in the first 24 minutes of play.
The rout was on as Pogoy and De Ocampo rifled in three-pointers to start the second half.
TNT finished with 12 of 26 treys as against Phoenix’s six-of-26.
The Texters actually clobbered the Fuel Masters practically on all fronts.
RAIN or Shine simply won\'t be denied.
Jay Washington saw to that as he came up brilliant in the stretch and made possible the Elasto Painters\' 95-88 over Blackwater Sunday in the PBA Commissioner\'s Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Shawn Taggart finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds, Jericho Cruz finally found some of his fiery touch for 12 points, the same output of Maverick Ahanmisi who also chipped in a big 3. James Yap continued his steady play with 11 points.
Clearly, however, it was Washington who shone the most when needed as he figured in practically all the crucial plays in the stretch, enabling the Elasto Painters to rack up their third win in as many games and join idle Meralco at the top of the leaderboard.
Aside from scoring all his six points on two clutch triples inside the last 2:45 of the game, Washington added four rebounds, an assist and a block. All the while, he also anchored the defense on Blackwater import Greg Smith.
Smith still wound up with game highs of 34 points and 20 rebounds, but he was completely stymied in the last five minutes, where he was limited to a solitary charity, and Blackwater got relegated to the company of NLEX at the cellar, each with a 0-3 slate.
Reil Cervantes added 12 points in his usual role as reliever for the Elite, who also drew 10 points from Kyle Pascual.
Usually good for 15 points an outing, Mac Belo was held to eight below his average although his lone triple gave Blackwater its last taste of the lead at 87-84.
But Ahanmisi answered right back with his own trey with Washington following suit to give Rain or Shine the upper hand at 90-87.
Following Smith\'s charity, Washington again connected in what would prove to be a dagger of a triple as Blackwater missed all its last four field goal attempts and committed two turnovers, the last converted by Cruz into a layup that pegged the final count.
It was a sorry collapse by Blackwater, which pounced on Rain or Shine\'s flat start to enjoy several seven-point leads early and even toted its biggest lead of the second half at 77-72 off Smith\'s dunk.
But the E-Painters hung tough and eventually got Washington, who was fielded in when Beau Belga got into foul trouble and Jewel Ponferrada and Raymond Almazan could not really get going, taking the lead.
Cruz, who scored only two points on 1-for-9 shooting against Mahindra, missed his first shot but waxed hot with 10 of his points in the third quarter, helping Rain or Shine stay within 68-70 going to the fourth period.
Mainly keeping Blackwater\'s head above water was Smith, who had 10 of his points in the third period while getting help from Roi Sumang and Cervantes.
The former Houston Rocket already had 14 points and 11 rebounds at the turn, but it was the backcourt duo of John Pinto and Ronjay Buenafe who made possible Blackwater\'s 47-44 lead at the end of the first half.
Pinto and Beunafe drilled in a triple each and the latter also had a technical charity off Taggart that capped the Elite\'s charge from a 35-42 deficit.
Taggart was well on his way to his own third straight double-double with 12 points and six boards after the first 24 minutes of play, but his local teammates found it hard to find their groove early on.
Good thing Crhis Tiu, Jeff Chan and Yap found some, joining hands in a 10-0 surge that plucked the E-Painters out of a 32-35 deficit and into a 42-35 spread.