Marc Pingris was candid enough to say that Star seemed to have lost its championship luster since the Hotshots reigned supreme during its 2014 Grand Slam season.
The veteran power forward noted that gone from the Hotshots was their aggressiveness on defense, a key component that triggered the team’s offense under former coach Tim Cone.
The 34-year-old Pingris said the change has nothing to do with rookie coach Jason Webb, Cone’s successor this season. But the free-fall had a lot to do with how the players play collectively during the game.
“Laging sa dulo eh kasi may pagkakataon manalo pero sana, matuto na kami. Kasi madalas na nangyari sa amin ito eh,” rued Pingris, following Star’s disappointing 100-92 overtime defeat to a young Mahindra side on Friday night in the opening day of the PBA Governors Cup.
While the core of Star’s Grand Slam title run is still intact this season, Pingris felt the Hotshots weren’t aggressive enough to close the game strongly against the Enforcer.
“Kailangan mas ayusin namin yung depensa. Saka sana matuto na kami kasi ganito rin kami natatalo dati. Sana hindi lang kailangan pag-aralan, pero ilagay din namin sa utak at saka sa puso,” added Pingris, who is coming off another tour of duty with Gilas Pilipinas last week.
Pingris admitted he’s tempted to think that other PBA teams are no longer afraid to play the Hotshots this season due to their consistent endgame collapse.
“Minsan nga sa tingin ko, kapag kalaban kami, yung mga players (think), ‘wala, Star Hotsots lang iyan’, hindi katulad ng dati, paparating pa lang ako dito, sasabihin nila, ‘panalunin niyo naman kami’. Eh ngayon parang kami na nagsasabi ‘panalunin niyo naman kami,’” he said jokingly.
While it’s just the start of the season-ending conference, Pingris is hopeful that Star will get its act together as the Hotshots try to regain their lost glory under Webb. – By Richard Dy
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