The management of San Mig Coffee (formerly the B-MEG Llamados) will allow star forward Marc Pingris to join the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team — if he wants to do it.
Team executive Rene Pardo told InterAKTV that the squad will not stand in the way of anyone joining the Philippine team, but said the decision rests on the player.
“As long as gusto ng player, then we will allow him to play for SMART-Gilas,” Pardo said in a telephone interview.
SMART-Gilas coach Chot Reyes, who said Pingris could play a key role for the team in the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup slated on September 14 to 22 in Tokyo, seemed thrilled by the idea of the man nicknamed Sakuragi’ joining the team in Japan.
“Game! All he needs is to sign letter of commitment and give it to me before Friday,” Reyes wrote in a text message to InterAKTV.
Pardo, however, voiced some concerns about Pingris’ condition.
“Pingris has not played since the Governors’ Cup championship and during that time, he was used in limited minutes because of his neck injury,” Pardo said. Pingris sustained a stiff neck injury in the finals after a hard foul by Ryan Arana, an ailment that caused him to miss a crucial game.
“I have a feeling na baka maka-disrupt siya sa team chemistry ng SMART-Gilas at hindi niya rin kilala yung mga kalaban niya doon sa Tokyo,” added Pardo, who also expressed surprise by Reyes’ desire to include Pingris in the lineup.
“The team has just won the championship in the Jones Cup, why fix it if ain’t broke?”
A response from Pingris, meanwhile, will have to wait, since he is currently abroad on vacation with his family in Singapore, according to Pardo.
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