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Marc Pingris "Pinoy Sakuragi"

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Jeanh, Aug 26, 2015.

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    Pingris ready to join Gilas upon return

    MANILA, Philippines – While the rest of the active players in the Gilas Pilipinas pool were ready to call it a night and take their customary rest to prepare for their third official day of practice, one Gilas candidate was getting ready for his daily run.

    More than 8,000 miles away in the tranquil landscape between grass-covered walls in Normandy, a region of Northern France, Star Hotshots forward Marc Pingris was about to take his nap before his afternoon jog.

    Despite all the negative news back home, Pingris is still in high spirits hoping that coach Tab Baldwin and the rest of the Gilas pool will welcome him with open arms once he returns to the country on August 12.

    “Sana nga makasama ako, ready ako,” Pingris told Please or Register to view links in text message from France. “Basta tingnan na lang natin, kilala mo naman ako. Hindi ako umaayaw sa basketball, lalo para sa bayan.”

    Back in 2012, Pingris ditched his annual visit to his father in France when he was called up to join the national team. He has not booked his entire family’s flight yet when he was selected to join the national pool.

    His father, Jean Marc, Sr. obliged to his request knowing that it was his dream to play for the flag.

    Pingris went on to play and helped the country regained back its once lofty status in the Asian basketball and as a bonus, made history by winning in the world stage for the first time in 40 years.

    Fast forward to 2015, the circumstances were not the same as 2012.

    While waiting for a call-up to re-join the national pool, Pingris received a bad news that his stepmom’s mother died. The flight and schedules have been made even before the new Gilas pool was announced.

    “Hindi pa kasi sinabi agad kung kailan ang practice ng Gilas that time eh namatay yung nanay ng asawa ni daddy kaya dumalaw muna kami sa France,” Pingris said.

    The 33-year old grizzled veteran asked Baldwin to give him two weeks to leave and join his grieving dad and stepmom.

    “Gusto ko naman maglaro, pinayagan naman ako ng SMC (San Miguel Corporation) pero si coach Tab nagsabi na baka nga hindi niya ako mahintay. Bago ako umalis, nagpaalam ako pero sabi ni coach (Tab), it would be unfair sa mga players na magpa-practice from day one if papayagan niya ako na mag-leave,” Pingris said.

    But many things have changed since that talk as the basketball federation (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) softened its stand saying that Pingris is on official leave when they announced the working pool of players released for the FIBA Asia-bound Gilas team.

    Last Monday night, during the national pool’s first official practice, Baldwin said that the door is still open for (the absent) players to join them though he was quick to add that they can’t wait for long.

    “That’s our list, that’s our team. Those are the guys we have here and for the other ones, we hope we get them in if injuries get healed and personal issues are resolved,” Baldwin said.

    “The door is still open. The roster is fluid. The guys in the PBA, Boss Pato (Gregorio), Boss Chito (Salud), they’ve been working very hard to try and get the players we can. Whatever issues have a reason, they’ve been working hard to try and resolve the issues. You can’t fix an injury right away. We don’t have a healer in the house. We have to be patient with injuries and we have to be compassionate with people with personal problems,” he pointed out.

    “We hope their families, their issues, whatever personal issues they have are resolved quickly and positively, so they could join us,” he also said, adding though that they can’t wait for long.

    With the reigning back-to-back MVP June Mar Fajardo officially begging off due to a nagging foot injury (plantar fasciitis) and Kelly Williams already out with a strained MCL (medial collateral ligament), Baldwin is left with a thin frontline rotation in the pool composed of Andray Blatche, Asi Taulava, Sonny Thoss, Ranidel de Ocampo and Gilas cadet Troy Rosario.

    The need for Pingris, who has been familiar with Baldwin’s style, has become more glaring.

    “Basta, umaga at hapon tumatakbo ako dito para kundisyon pa rin ako at ready kapag pinatawag ako sa Gilas pagbalik ko,” said Pingris, who has been following the national team’s updates on the internet.

    Before he went out for his second run on Wednesday (Thursday Manila time), Pingris sent a text message to Baldwin hoping he would get a positive reply.

    He may be physically away from the Gilas pool but Pingris’ spirit is with the team. He may be in France at his father’s country but he left his heart in his mother’s homeland and he is raring to return and lay it all on the court for another Gilas’ magical run. – Alder Almo, Please or Register to view links
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