Holding back a beast
He is not inexperienced in any way, but neither is he considered a full-pledged veteran, owing to the fact that he has never played in a title series in Asia’s first professional league.
The crafty and speedy Barangay Ginebra guard has had multiple individual accolades under his belt and has contended for best player conference awards even during his time with the NorthPort franchise. He has also had several stints with Gilas Pilipinas.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone knows what kind of a weapon he has as he and the Gin Kings renew their rivalry with Meralco starting on Tuesday for the season-ending Governors’ Cup.
LA Tenorio, meanwhile, is doing another thing for Pringle.
“He has been very vocal about it. He’s raring to go. He even feels that Game 1 is taking too long,” Tenorio, for years the top point guard of the Kings and whose spot Pringle will take over eventually, said. “At one point, I even told him to don’t get too excited.”
“The good thing about him is, even at his level, there’s still plenty for him to improve on,” Tenorio said. “He’s a good listener, too. That’s why I think he’s up for the challenge.“
The 6-foot Pringle is one of the few superstars in the league without a title, and helping the Kings get here is precisely the reason why Cone gave up three good role players—Kevin Ferrer, Jervy Cruz and Sol Mercado—to have the league approve of the biggest trade of the season.Going to Ginebra could also be the biggest break he’s gotten, for the Kings are almost always there fighting for a crown.
“I feel there’s still a lot of growth left in him,” Cone told the Inquirer.
Cone has been a lover of great guards, even during the time when he built a dynasty with Alaska where Johnny Abarrientos was king of the point guards.
The two-time winning Grand Slam champion coach, though, knows that Pringle has something going for him that Tenorio, his top guard at Ginebra, and Abarrientos, don’t have—Pringle is much bigger than them.
“For a long time, if you stop LA, you stop Ginebra,” Cone said. “It’s just like in the old days with Johnny [Abarrientos]. You stop him, you stop Alaska.”
“With a talent like Stanley on the floor, [stopping us] won’t be easy to do anymore,” he added.
Pringle, for his part, tried to downplay all that talk of him being so zestfully eager to play, saying he is just blessed enough to even be given the opportunity to play the sport.“I don’t put my thought into all [that],” he said. “My thought and focus are just, you know, on playing the game.”
“I’m really happy to be a professional basketball player,” he said. “It’s something I wanted to be as a kid so you know everything else is just really icing on the cake.”
Pringle will be a matchup problem for the Bolts because of his brawn and agility, and it would be up to Chris Newsome and even Baser Amer to try and contain this dynamo. INQ
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