Despite the cloud of uncertainty hovering above Ateneo’s preferred choice Tab Baldwin, incoming sophomore Jerie Pingoy is relishing what he considers “a big opportunity” to train under the Gilas Pilipinas mentor ahead of the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament.
“Masarap at masaya,” was how the 5-foot-9 Pingoy described practice sessions with Baldwin. “Back to zero kami halos kaya parang (continuous) try-outs na rin sa among lahat.”
Baldwin has been tabbed to take over the coaching spot left by Bo Perasol after the Blue Eagles’ Final Four finish last year but the Kiwi-American mentor has yet to secure the nod from the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines, leaving his possible UAAP stint in doubt.
Pingoy, however, isn’t one to dwell on it much.
“Basta si coach Tab ang nagte-training sa amin for now,” he said. “Napaka-hardworking niyang tao. Sobrang disiplina rin at ‘yun ang unang-una sa kanya—disiplina.
“Nire-remind niya sa amin na kailangan naming magtrabaho. Sabi niya, kahit gaano ka pang kagaling, kung hindi ka naman hard working, wala rin,” added the former 2-time UAAP juniors MVP, who led the FEU Baby Tamaraws to the Promised Land in Season 75.
Pingoy admitted he’s also keen on bouncing back personally after a left ankle sprain slowed him down last year. “Magba-bounce back talaga ako pati ‘yung team. Hopefully makabawi kami.” he concluded. — By Jerome Lagunzad