Thursday, August 20, 2015
Marc Pingris changes mind, decides to join Gilas Pilipinas pool
Defensive ace Marc Pingris has changed his mind and said that he will suit for the Philippine national men’s basketball team in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship if given the chance.
“Despite my earlier pronouncement not to join and give others a chance to play for the country, Purefoods management has asked me to reconsider my decision… I talked to my wife and we agreed,” he said.
“In the end, it was pride and honor in representing the Philippines that prevailed over me… I am grateful for management’s support and if the Philippine team still needs me, I promise to go all out for the country in the Fiba-Asia Championship as it aims to gain a slot in the Rio Olympics next year.”
Pingris had earlier bid goodbye to Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin in an emotional farewell during the team’s practice last Saturday. He cited “family, health and professional concerns” as reasons and added that there were “things that were beyond control.”
The Star Hotshots forward has been a member of the national team since 2013, helping the squad win the silver medal in the FIBA Asia Championship that year and also had shining moments in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, the country’s first appearance on the world stage in 36 years.
But Pingris, one of the invited players to this year’s national team pool, will have to wait before joining the squad as Gilas Pilipinas is currently in Estonia for a pocket tournament this week.
Before his change of heart, Pingris was one of the notable absent players from Gilas Pilipinas which also failed to secure the services of Barangay Ginebra’s LA Tenorio and San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo despite being invited to the squad.
Pingris, Tenorio and Fajardo are all playing for teams under the SMC umbrella, a known corporate rival of the MVP Group of Companies which backs Gilas Pilipinas.
Marc Pingris trends online after announcing desire to return to Gilas Pilipinas
Gilas Pilipinas fans celebrated on Twitter after Marc Pingris announced his desire to return to the national team pool on Wednesday.
The squad's supporters expressed dismay when the Star Hotshots forward formally begged off from the training pool on Saturday, lamenting the loss of Gilas' "heart and soul."
But now that Pingris is available, Filipino fans were elated and took their joy online, propelling "Marc Pingris" as the number two trending topic in the country, just behind #ALDUBnotALDUH.
As Pingris returns to Gilas, San Miguel Corp. says it's supportive of national program
As Marc Pingris announced his desire to return to the Gilas Pilipinas pool on Wednesday, San Miguel Corporation took the opportunity to reiterate their support to the national team.
The Star Hotshots forward formally begged off the training pool on Saturday, leading to the disappointment of fans who consider him as the "heart and soul" of the team.
Gilas supporters, however, directed their ire at San Miguel Corporation, which owns the Star franchise along with Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beer.
In a statement, SMC assured the Philippine basketball community of their support to the Philippine team.
"San Miguel has always been supportive of endeavors to promote national pride," the business conglomerate said.
With Pingris' earlier withdrawal, no players from the SMC fold were part of the Gilas pool coached Tab Baldwin, prompting fans to speculate that the management does not want to lend players to the national team.
But Star Hotshots team executive Rene Pardo said that the "management will continue to encourage its pool of players to make themselves available, if they can, for national interest."
Along with Pingris, Ginebra's LA Tenorio and San Miguel's June Mar Fajardo were also named to the 16-man pool released by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.
Tenorio begged off citing poor form, while Fajardo revealed that he is enduring a foot injury following the PBA's season-ending Governors' Cup.