“Magpapakamatay na kami kung kailangan para sa bayan.”
Marc Pingris doesn’t have the range of Ranidel de Ocampo. He doesn’t have the athleticism of Japeth Aguilar. But in the most crucial stretch of the South Korea game at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes banked on the 6-foot-4 bruiser to close out.
With less than 30 seconds left in the game and Gilas up five, it was Pingris who sealed the deal by grabbing an offensive rebound off a Jason Castro miss, and putting it back in to finish off South Korea.
As he ran back to the defensive end, screaming and pumping both fists in celebration, you’d forget he was nursing a sprained right ankle the whole game. He finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Pingris’ game is not about finesse. It’s about making hard cuts to the basket, diving for loose balls, and fighting tooth and nail for a rebound. It’s not about the gimmicks, it’s about the hustle.
In two days, count on Pingris to again risk life and limb as he wages battle against the world’s best.