Even after a winless run in the 2019 FIBA World Cup for the Philippines, former Gilas Pilipinas Men forward Marc Pingris expressed pride when asked about his thoughts on the country’s recent participation in the tournament.
Pingris, a long-time member of the national team and regarded as its heart and soul for the locker room presence that he brings, said that instead of hating on the team, fans should continue supporting them.
“Sobrang saludo pa rin ako sa kanila. Wag natin batikusin natin tong mga kumbaga sundalo natin sa court. Mahalin pa rin natin sila,” said the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok forward.
“Alam naman natin ang mga Pilipino, sobrang mahal nila ang Gilas, pero kung matatalo naman, grabe rin sila mang-bash pero hindi nila nakikita yung paano ang sacrifice ng mga players ng Gilas.”
Pingris also provided perspective, saying the opponents the Philippines faced, especially Italy and Serbia, were really strong.
“Ang laki naman talaga ng mga nakakalaban natin e. Sana maintindihan rin natin na hindi rin tayo mananalo agad,” said Pingris.
But for fairness, Pingris also mentioned the team lacked preparation, unlike his time with Gilas where they were able to bond a lot prior to their major competitions.
“But ang masasabi ko rin sa team ngayon, pag andoon ang puso nila, gusto rin nila manalo,” he said. “Talagang nag-sama sama kami. Itong mga players kasi, yung iba nasa finals, hindi sila nabubuo sa practice. Ang hirap noon as a coach kay coach Yeng. So sana maka-adjust sila.”
Pingris was part of back to back FIBA Asia Championship silver medal-winning Gilas squads in 2013 and 2015. He was a key member of the 2014 FIBA World Cup line-up.