Pingris focused on catching up with Gilas new plays
(Philstar.com) - August 26, 2015 - 12:04am

MANILA, Philippines -- Marc Pingris knows very well he has a lot of catching up to do after rejoining Gilas Pilipinas only on Wednesday at the team’s morning practice at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.

The 6-foot-5 Pingris practiced with the national pool for the first time since announcing last week that he has reconsidered joining Gilas.

Nangangapa pa. Hindi mo masasabing madali, pero kailangan mo tanggapin yung challenge na yun eh,” Pingris told Philstar.com on Wednesday after the two-hour practice.

Pingris said he was glad to see some old faces and reconnect with some of his Gilas teammates, who welcomed him with open arms.

Alam ko sobrang late na ako pero sila Jimmy (Alapag) kanina, Dondon (Hontiveros), Ranidel (De Ocampo), Gary (David), sinsuportahan nila ako. Tinuturo nila yung play na kailangan ko isaulo lahat yun,” he added.

System-wise, Pingris said he still remembers the ‘dribble-drive offense’ they used during their runner-up finish in the 2013 Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Manila as well as the national team’s historic appearance in the Fiba World Cup in Seville, Spain last year.

But outside that system, the veteran Star Hotshot admitted he will have to memorize the other plays that Gilas coach Tab Baldwin has taught the team over the past three weeks.

Meron naman akong natandaan, yung dribble-drive, alam ko naman yun. Nakaka-adjust ako sa ganun, pero yung mga bagong play lang talaga, kailangan matalas ang isip mo,” explained the 33-year-old forward.

Hindi tinatawag ng guard yun (new systems taught by Baldwin) eh, kundi kung sino pinasahan, yun ang tatawag ng play so kailangan alert ka talaga,” he added.

Baldwin, meantime, shared that Wednesday’s morning practice was done particularly to give way to Pingris, who he said, has a lot of catching up to do.

“We welcomed Marc in and we talked about the fact that he’s missed a lot,” said Baldwin, whose team returned from Estonia Monday night after participating in the 2015 Four Nation Toyota Cup.

“There’s a big burden on his (Pingris) shoulders to catch up as fast as he can because the reality is we now have to stop on our progress and wait for Marc to catch up,” he said.

Though behind in schedule because of the off-court drama caused by Pingris’ declaration earlier that he will have to skip playing for Gilas, only to change his mind later, Baldwin remained optimistic that the Star forward is up to the challenge.

“That’s (adjusting this late) never an ideal situation ever. He understands that. And because of the kind of person that he is, he welcomes that challenge and I could see he’s really focused on practice and he wants to accelerate his learning curve,” stressed the American-Kiwi coach.

Gilas returns to practice Wednesday evening where Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson is expected to observe the national team at the Meralco gym.

ACIRC BALDWIN DE OCAMPO ESTONIA MONDAY FIBA WORLD CUP FOUR NATION TOYOTA CUP GATORADE HOOPS CENTER GILAS PILIPINAS JORDAN CLARKSON LOS ANGELES LAKERS PINGRIS
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