Pingris who sparked Gilas’ most famous triumph enters sunset, a legend
He called himself a “market kid” who dreamed of being part of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in a social media post announcing his retirement.
Marc Pingris resisted a lot of chances to live this dream.
And this poor kid from a northern province who played outside of the best college leagues in the country, decided to get away from basketball.
And naturally, this elimination takes a bit of getting used to.
“I still can’t believe I’m not going to train anymore,” the Magnolia forward told SportsIQ three days after hanging up his sneakers. “Partly it’s sad knowing that you won’t be able to do the things you used to do, like waking up early.” [for training] and joke with your teammates. But at the same time, I’m happy because now I have more time with my family.
The much-loved Gilas Pilipinas said he has given his retirement a lot of thought, speaking to family, close friends and other players. And he also made sure to check with the person that retirement would matter most – himself.
“I was starting to feel [ready to retire] already too. I think for me it was also time to give myself time to rest, ”he said.
Pingris, 39, has been living his PBA dream since 2004, when he was drafted third overall by the late Air21 Ball Club. He has won nine championships, two of which he was named MVP of the final, and is a multiple star player. There are so many highlights in his career, but Pingris singled out three moments that really stand out.
“When I got drafted, when my name was called. I was very happy. I never expected to be drafted, I’m thinking of number 3, ”he said in Filipino. “Also, my first PBA Championship with Coach Ryan [Gregorio]. And of course the [San Mig Coffee] Grand Slam [in 2014]. “
Ask people what they remember most about Pingris, especially those who are not fans of the PBA teams he played for, and discussions will inevitably derive from his time with the national team, especially this semi-final outing against South Korea in the 2013 Fiba. (International Basketball Federation) Asian Championship held at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Everyone is crying
Gilas Pilipinas had just lost Marcus Douthit in the first half and Pingris was treating a sprained foot after stepping on the foot of Korean veteran Kim Joo-sung. At halftime, as his teammates warmed up, Pingris was sitting on the bench massaging his hamstrings, which had taken the weight off him offsetting his injured ankle.
“I prayed,” Pingris said after that game, “I asked him to help me not feel the pain.”
On a good leg, Pingris finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and gave Gilas Pilipinas what he needed most: the heart to defeat an old foe. The Philippines beat Korea 86-79 and played in the World Cup the following year, a first for the country in four decades.
“That moment when we won against Korea was the happiest because all the Filipinos were crying [out of joy]Pingris said. “All the people; people next to me, even though I didn’t know them, [they were saying] ‘Thanks thanks.'”
And, in what perhaps best defines Pingris as a person, he added: “Even though it was us who should have thanked them.” We were grateful for the fans for the energy they gave us, “he said.”[The fans] were really the key to this victory, their cheers.
Pingris was the beating heart in this Gilas team. His courageous stance against the big Koreans fueled the team’s confidence when things looked bleak following Douthit’s exit.
He was also the heart of all the other teams he played for. And he gave each team everything they had every night, often fighting and beating bigger players for the rebounds. And in what he calls a happy coincidence, Pingris’ fierce determination has earned him the nickname Pinoy Sakuragi, after anime character Hanamichi Sakuragi from the popular Slam Dunk series.
“I was 10 or 12 years old [years old] and I was already watching Slam Dunk. And I really liked the character of the guy. But I didn’t expect people to call me. But I was really happy that people called me that because he was really my idol and we had the same [beginnings]. He started in track and field, I started in track and field.
While Pingris is happy to spend time with his family and focus on his businesses, he said he’s not completely turning his back on basketball.
“I am open to mentoring young players,” he said. “I want to share what I know just like other players helped me when I was young. I just wanna pass [that knowledge]. It’s like a stick. It was once passed to me and I want to pass it on to [the younger players]. “
This is knowledge that athletes should take into account, whether it is in basketball they are chasing or not.
“It’s not about the school you went to,” Pingris said. “It’s not about where you come from. Whether you are from the north or what, [it means] nothing. It’s all in the heart. If you really love your job or your dream, persevere [and] practice.”
Take it from a market kid in a northern province who went to a relatively small basketball school. This kid became a multiple champion and the heart that proudly beat the national team – and is in the process of leaving his sport a legend.
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