The longer Gilas Pilipinas players stay together, the better their chemistry will be.
That’s what veteran big man Marc Pingris thinks so, convinced he and his fellow mainstays have yet to fully develop their cohesion—on and off the court—with their younger Gilas Pilipinas teammates ahead of the Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament set from July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
But the 6-foot-5 Pingris, 34, believes he and the rest of his Gilas Pilipinas teammates will be more bonded together—on and off the court—once they start their three-country European swing on June 10 until the last week of June.
“I’m sure pag-alis namin pagpunta ng Greece, Turkey at Italy, alam ko doon mabubuo lahat ng ‘yan,” said the Star forward on Thursday at the end of Gilas Pilipinas closed-door practice at the Meralco gym in Ortigas, Pasig City.
One of the familiar faces on the national team over the last three years, Pingris admitted he and his fellow veterans have yet to fully accustomed themselves to the younger Gilas aspirants, including Texas Legends wingman Ray Parks.
But he is confident their chemistry will only get better, something that he has experienced during Gilas Pilipinas 2.0’s two-week training camp in Lithuania as part of their build-up in the FIBA Asia cage championships in Manila where they finished runner-up to Asian powerhouse Iran.
“Katulad ng ginawa namin sa Lithuania before (back in 2013), doon talaga nabuo ang lahat,” stressed Pingris, considered as one of the more cheerful among Gilas members like Ranidel De Ocampo, Gary David and Asi Taulava.
“Matagal na kasi kaming magkakakilala nila Ranidel, Gary, Japeth (Aguilar). Siguro nagkataon palabiro si Gary, palabiro Ako. Ganun kami nila Ranidel at Asi,” shared the Pozzorubio, Pangasinan native.
“Ngayon marami ring mga bagong dating. Pero nagsisimula pa lang naman na binubuo ang chemistry namin. Kasi yang mga ‘yan, sila Ray, hindi pa nila agad naipapakita ‘yung ugali nila,” said Pingris, referring to the likes of the 6-foot-4 Parks, Tropang TNT’s Troy Rosario and Gilas cadet Kiefer Ravena.
“Kami kinakapa rin naman namin, hindi rin naman agad binibigay kasi baka mamaya maasar kasi hindi pa namin alam ang ugali ng isa’t isa.”
Even Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio echoed Pingris’ observation.
“You look at these players, they weren’t as good as when they started. As you grow together, the longer you are as a team, the better it is because you get to know each other and be a band of brothers,” said Antonio, who is also serving as Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas deputy director for international affairs.
“It helps a lot in building a team which is not just a group of basketball players, but a family. The longer you are together, the bond gets deeper, and you get better din,” he added.
And Pingris thinks it’s just a matter of time before they can form the same bond that fueled the earlier Gilas team’s drive to a phenomenal performance in the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
“Darating rin kami dun. Ganun rin naman kasi kami dati. Nag-start rin naman kami sa kapaan.” – By Jerome Lagunzad
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