The Pingris effect: Hotshots draw inspiration from injured teammate
Marc Pingris may be out for the rest of the 2018 Philippine Cup playoffs but his presence is still very much felt in Magnolia in its semifinals series against NLEX.
Pingris went down with an ACL injury in Game 1, but his absence became the Hotshots’ source of inspiration to win and so far, they’re 2-0 without him.
“Kuya Ping is an inspiration to us and him being our inspiration is really a big help to us,” said Magnolia guard Paul Lee in Filipino after a 106-99 win in Game 3 Wednesday night.
“He texts us almost everyday, every hour. He texted us before the game telling that we can do it and that’s a big help to us,” Lee, who wore Pingris’ jersey during warmup prior to tipoff.
Lee, who led the Hotshots’ 99-84 win in Game 2 with 27 points, didn’t need to score that much with Jio Jalalon exploding for 25 points after a quiet first two games. Magnolia also drew 24 points from Ian Sangalang while Rome dela Rosa added 17.
“I dedicate my performance to kuya Ping,” Sangalang said in Filipino. “I think of him during [crucial] situations and what he’s taught me.”
It was Jalalon, however, who set the tone for the Hotshots with eight points in the first quarter. He also hardly missed, hitting 10 of his 13 shots from the field.
Jalalon wasn’t his usual self in Games 1 and 2, but Game 3 was a different story and he had Pingris to thank for his sterling showing.
“He messaged me after our game in MOA and that brought my self-esteem up,” Jalalon recalled.
The 36-year-old Pingris has been the team’s heart and soul for the longest time and it doesn’t seem like his value to Magnolia hasn’t diminished one bit.
“We can still feel that his heart is still with us even though he’s not playing,”Lee said.