PBA Commissioner’s Cup preview: Pringle’s the ship captain now

We didn’t know it back then, but last conference was apparently a solo test drive for Stanley Pringle.

With Terrence Romeo finding a new backcourt partner in Jayson Castro at TNT, GlobalPort’s fate will now completely rest on Pringle’s shoulders. And if last conference was any indication, you’d know that it’s not bad news for the franchise.

Having to take on a bigger load on offense meant more minutes and more touches for the 31-year-old guard, and he delivered. He was sixth in minutes played (37.3) and was only behind June Mar Fajardo in the scoring leaderboard at 21.1 points per game. His career-high 7.9 boards per game made him one of the three guards (along with Scottie Thompson and teammate Sean Anthony) to place inside the top 15 of that department. He also added a team-high 4.6 assists and 1.3 steals in 12 games while shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 34.3 percent on threes.

Anthony complimented him well, and he’ll continue to serve as the Robin to Pringle’s Batman. He’s just as effective on offense (41.2 percent shooting, 35.0 percent on treys) and is very disruptive on defense, averaging 1.8 steals per contest while getting primarily assigned to the opposing team’s best player on defense.

The addition of Mo Tautuaa will also do wonders for a GlobalPort team that was already the best rebounding team in the league last conference. The former number one pick just came off a career-best performance in rebounding (7.3 boards per game) and is starting to show some extended range on offense. If Pido Jarencio utilizes him properly, Mo might be able to highlight the skillset which made him the highly-touted pick that he was once.

Malcolm White will suit up as the team’s import this conference. Familiarity with the team is key here; he played for five games under the same squad which was then coached by Franz Pumaren. He averaged 21.8 points, 14.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks on 55.7 percent shooting, but was eventually replaced mid-conference by Justin Harper. The former Louisiana State University standout’s hulking presence in the block will take the pressure off Nabong and will give Tautuaa enough time to adjust with the team.

It’s unclear what the team’s ceiling would be since we can’t really determine how well they’ll all mesh together. They also have a lot of issues on the floor to iron out: GlobalPort will have to cut down the turnovers (19.2 per game, second-worst last conference, move the ball around for a better shot more often (18.8 assists, 10th) and actually find the net in every shot that they’re throwing up (39.7 percent from the field, 10th; 29.1 percent on three-pointers, 11th).

There’s one thing that we can glean from what we’ve seen, though: they’ll continue to run and play at the league’s fastest pace while scoring a lot. That’s what they do best. There will be struggles and playoff misses, but with the right pieces in place, GlobalPort is on track to getting where they wanna be.