First-time champ Pringle the 'difference' for Ginebra, says Cone

MANILA, Philippines – It had been a long time coming for Stanley Pringle.

Pringle can now call himself a PBA champion after Barangay Ginebra disposed of Meralco in 5 games to clinch the Governors' Cup crown with an emphatic 105-93 win on Friday, January 17. 

The shifty guard churned out 17 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal – doing everything the Gin King needed him to in order to rule the conference for the third time in the last 4 seasons. 

"What do you say about Stanley? He's the difference," Cone said of Pringle. 

Enumerating how his wards wow the crowd – Scottie Thompson with his rebounding and Japeth Aguilar with his blocks – Cone singled out Pringle for his ability to finish in traffic and on the open court.

"Nothing quite gets the crowd going like that," Cone said. "When he does something like that, it lifts the whole team because it lifts the crowd." 

Since getting drafted No. 1 overall in 2014 by NorthPort, Pringle has proven to be one of the best in the league as he was named to the Mythical First Team and the Scoring Champion in 2018. 

Even in his rookie season, he already made a splash by winning the Rookie of the Year all the while being included in the Mythical Second Team. 

A PBA title, however, remained elusive for Pringle as he and the Batang Pier never got past the semifinals in his 4 seasons with the team. 

But all that changed when he was traded to the Gin Kings in the middle of the season in 2019 – a move that only reinforced an already dangerous crew. 

In his first trip to the a PBA finals, Pringle did not disappoint and averaged 18.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists as Ginebra dispatched Meralco the fastest in the 3 times they faced in the finals. 

The 2016 finals between the two teams ended in 6 games on a breathtaking Justin Brownlee game-winner, while the 2017 edition went the distance.

"He's really, really, really special and he took us to the next level that's why we're able to win this series, this thing in 5 games. I think it was Stanley's presence," said Cone, who won his 22nd PBA title. 

Now, Cone eyes to rule the Philippine Cup – the only conference he has not won since taking over for the Gin Kings in 2015 – with Pringle as his new weapon. 

"I think Stanley gives us our best chance," said Cone, with the All-Filipino conference dominated by San Miguel in the last 5 seasons. 

"[H]aving that constant threat on the floor is going to open up things for everybody else. He almost, almost plays an import-like role out there on the floor."

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.