Marc Pingris proudly brandished his newly-stitched up chin moments after the end of B-MEG practice. “Pinatatlo ko na, para sigurado,” he said, referring to the number of stitches required to close the cut, a souvenir courtesy of a forearm from Talk ‘N Text import Donnell Harvey.
Despite the Llamados’ 100-85 loss the previous evening, Pingris was in a good mood as he showcased his newest battle scar.
“Nabawasan ng two points yung kagwapuhan ko. Naks, yabang!” he said with a smile. He has drawn comparisons to Slam Dunk protagonist Hanamichi Sakuragi for his play on the court, but off it, Pingris displays a goofiness that makes the anime analogy perfect. Earlier inside the gym, he playfully wrestled a B-MEG ballboy to the floor, and put him in a faux armbar. “Prinaktis ko na yung MMA ko kanina, para kay Ali Peek at saka sa import nila,” he joked.
Even off the court, Pingris remains a ball of energy — he never stops moving or talking. He sat among B-MEG fans during his post-practice snack — a bilao of pancit that only half the players ate — and told everyone to take a plate and help themselves to the food. “Ang daming pagkain o, kuha kayo!” he said.
After addressing the fans, he turned to B-MEG team manager Alvin Patrimonio, who was also having a snack, to ask for advice. Unlike other players who would welcome a two-day break from action in a grueling finals series, the extra day of rest was driving Pingris crazy.
“5:30 na ako nakatulog kanina, may araw na. Tapos nagising ako ng 9, idlip ng konti tapos nagising ako ng 10,” Pingris said. “Sumasakit ang ulo ko na nasa bahay lang, sana may laro na bukas.”
Patrimonio rattled off a list of suggestions for how Pingris could spend his extra day. “Relax ka na lang, kundisyon ka naman eh,” said the PBA legend. “O kaya mag-laps ka sa pool.”
Pingris pondered the suggestions, before decidedly turning more serious when talking about Game Five against Talk ‘N Text. He spoke about how the Tropang Texters came out with more energy and physicality in the previous game.
“Mas physical talaga sila, at hindi kami naging handa dun,” he said, adding that referees let a lot of contact go. “Ginagawa lang naman nila yung trabaho nila eh, so gagawin din namin yung trabaho namin.”
When asked if he expects a more physical game in the next outing, he said: “Ako, mas magiging physical ako. Hindi ko na hahayaang gawin ulit sa amin yung ginawa nila.”
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