Basketball

Tim Cone: ‘Sakuragi’ Pingris big boost to SMART-Gilas Pilipinas

AKTV/Pranz Kaeno Billones

AKTV/Pranz Kaeno Billones

San Mig Coffee livewire forward Marc Pingris is the newest member of the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team, and his coach Tim Cone couldn’t be more excited.

“I think he’ll be a key contributor. I’m really happy for Ping,” Cone told InterAKTV. “I’m sure, he, too, is very proud about his selection.”

Cone said Pingris, nicknamed ‘Sakuragi’ after the anime character for his firebrand style of play, brings a different dimension to SMART-Gilas.

“He does so many things that were never done by other members of the squad,” said Cone.

Pingris’ entry into SMART-Gilas could mean missing games for San Mig Coffee in the Governors’ Cup, the schedule of which is still being set by the PBA. With this in mind, Cone said that the team could choose to bring back Marqus Blakely, who led the franchise to a finals appearance in the season-ending tournament last season. During his stint, fans compared Blakely’s style of play to that of Pingris, earning him the nickname ‘Black Sakuragi’.

“We’re looking to bring him in for the third conference,” said Cone.

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