Pingris on criticisms: Everything was my decision

MANILA, Philippines – Amid criticism over a back-and-forth affair with his participation in Gilas Pilipinas, Marc Pingris stresses every decision he has made from the beginning was his own. 

The 33-year old forward spoke about the backlash he and San Miguel Corp received since initially begging off from the national men’s basketball team.

Ako naman talaga nag-decide dati na hindi maglaro kasi gusto kong magpahinga (I decided before not to play because I wanted to rest),” he told Rappler in a phone interview Wednesday, August 19. 

Naririnig ko yang mga 'yan, 'sarap nga sumagot pero hindi ko pinapatulan. Wala naman silang (alam doon), decision ko naman yun (I heard it. I almost wanted to respond but I just didn't mind them. They don't know anything about it, it was my decision.).” 

Decision kong pumunta ng France para makita daddy ko. So hindi naman sa pagyayabang na pa-importante ako sa team, gusto ko lang magpahinga dati dahil ang pangit ng nilaro ko last conference, e,” he added.

Tinodo ko noong nag-4-peat kami tapos sa Gilas. Tao lang din ako e, napapagod din. Sabi ko last naman na ‘to, e. Gusto ko talagang maglaro kasi last na ‘to. I-push na natin kasi nakapagpahinga naman na ako, e.” 

(It was my decision to go to France to see my father. Not to be conceited or act all important to the team, but I really wanted to rest because I played badly during the last conference. I went all out during our 4-peat and then played for Gilas. I’m only human, I get tired, too. I said this is my last. I want to play because this may be my last. I’ll push myself because I’m already rested anyway.) 

The Star Hotshots veteran changed his mind about playing for Gilas and announced Wednesday he would suit up for the nationals if they still need him.

Pingris originally took a leave of absence from Gilas due to a scheduled trip to France to visit his family. He arrived back in Manila on Wednesday, August 12, and was expected to join practice the following day but did not show up. 

He then dropped by Gilas practice on Saturday, August 15, to speak to head coach Tab Baldwin and formally begged off from the team, which is gearing up to compete in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship this September in Changsha, Hunan, China.

Pingris said he almost immediately reconsidered after Saturday and spoke with Hotshots team governor Rene Pardo, whom Pingris said helped him arrive at a decision. 

Nag-usap kami ng manager ko, sabi ko gusto ko talagang maglaro,” he explained.

Then tumawag sa akin si Sir Pardo, kasi nung nalaman nila na hindi na ako maglalaro, tumawag si Sir Pardo sa akin. Sabi niya: 'Sayang yung opportunity, maglaro ka na lang. Kasi hindi ka naman bumabata...so sayang yung opportunity baka last mo na maglaro nyan.’” 

(I spoke to my manager and said I really want to play. Then Sir Pardo called me when they heard I wouldn’t play: ‘It’s an opportunity, just play. You’re not getting any younger, so you might miss the opportunity to play one last time.’) 

In defense of SMC

Pingris also came to the defense of San Miguel Corp (SMC), which owns his mother ballclub as well as the San Miguel Beermen and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, saying rumors over the company preventing them from joining Gilas should stop.

Ewan ko kasi ako tao ako, ah. 'Pag na-injure ako talagang ang hirap maglaro. Ang hirap pilitin mo yung mga player maglaro kasi may mga future rin yang mga yan,” he said. 

(I don’t know but I’m only human. When I get injured, it’s really hard to play. It’s difficult to force a player to play because they have a future, too.)

Before Pingris decided to return, Gilas did not have any player from the San Miguel-owned PBA teams in the pool, causing an uproar from fans and critics on social media. 

Back-to-back PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel and guard LA Tenorio of Ginebra both backed out due to injuries and health reasons. 

Hindi nila pwedeng i-sakripisyo yung katawan nila. Hindi mo rin kasi mabibigay ng todo sa paglalaro kung hindi ka rin 100%. Kahit ako, nag-doubt ako sa sarili ko na baka nga hindi ko rin mabigay yung 100% ko kaya nagpapakundisyon ako,” he added. 

Pero wala akong injury. Sila (Fajardo and Tenorio) kasi na-injury. Alam mo yung haka-haka na hindi pinapayagan ng SMC sana mawala sa kanila yan dahil kawawa sila, e.”

(They can’t sacrifice their bodies. You can’t give it your all if you’re not 100% healthy. I myself doubted if I could give a 100%, that’s why I’m conditioning my body. But I'm not injured, they're injured. I hope the rumors that SMC didn't allow them to play will stop."

Pingris said he is currently working his way back to game shape while Gilas is in Estonia for a week-long pocket tournament. The team will return on on Monday, August 24.

Pingris added he will show up at first practice next week, though he has yet to communicate with Baldwin regarding his change of heart.

Sabi nga nila puso, para sa bayan. So pinaghahandaan ko yun, nagpapakundisyon talaga ako (They said we should show heart, and it’s for the country. I’m preparing myself, I’m conditioning my body),” he said. “I’m ready.” 

Baldwin previously said he was open to getting Pingris, Tenorio, and Fajardo back if Gilas still sees a need for them. 

Pingris has been with Gilas since 2013 when they bagged the silver in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship in Manila. He also saw action in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. – Rappler.com