For years, fans have been comparing B-MEG power forward Marc Pingris to Hanamichi Sakuragi, the protagonist of the popular basketball anime Slam Dunk.
On Friday, Pingris said that he doesn’t mind the comparison one bit.
“Si Sakuragi kasi yung favorite cartoon character ko nung high school pa ako,” Pingris told InterAKTV in an exclusive interview.
The comparisons were drawn because their play on the court, with their focus on defense, rebounding, and slam dunks.
But Pingris revealed that the similarities go beyond just their style of play on the court.
“Pareho kasi kami eh, noon hindi rin naman ako marunong mag-basketball, hindi talaga yun yung sport ko. Nung high school, track and field talaga yung sport ko.”
Pingris said he’s flattered that fans are making the comparison between him and the popular character.
In the anime series, Sakuragi joins the Shohoku High team even without knowing how to play basketball. But his height, strength, and athleticism allowed him to become a key member of the squad — despite the occasional lapse on the court because of his eagerness on the court.
Like Sakuragi, Pingris plays with a raw edge. He makes up for his lack of basketball polish with his energy, intensity, and leaping ability, even though, like Sakuragi, he is prone to errors when getting too emotional on the court.
Fittingly, just like the anime series, Pingris can be funny too. Asked for a few words to open the press conference for the PBA finals, a joking Pingris welcomed the media with words one would expect from his anime doppelganger: “Salamat sa pagpunta, kain pa kayo, ang dami nating pagkain. Salamat kay Commissioner, ang sarap talaga ng pagkain dito sa finals!”