Pringle could be difference maker for Ginebra’s Philippine Cup bid
MANILA, Philippines — For all its dominance since Tim Cone took over as head coach, Barangay Ginebra has never won an all-Filipino title.
But the Gin Kings’ Philippine Cup drought could finally end this year with Stanley Pringle being deemed as the difference maker.
“When we got Stan, it changed the dynamic of the team. We became a quicker team, we’re pushing the ball more because he is an open court type of player,” said veteran guard Mark Caguioa on Monday during Ginebra’s victory party at Metrotent in Pasig.
“Stanley’s special. You’ve seen him this last championship, we were basically [doing everything] being Stan. We needed a guy like that especially if Brownlee is not here. We need that scoring from Stan,” he added.
The Kings brought in Pringle in the middle of last year’s Commissioner’s Cup in a blockbuster trade with the NorthPort Batang Pier and the crafty playmaker has been nothing short of spectacular.
The 40-year-old Caguioa, who is set to return to play in his 19th season in the PBA all with Ginebra, is the only player left on the team’s current roster who was part of the Gin Kings’ squad that won the all-Filipino crown in 2007, which was the last time the franchise ruled the conference.
Ginebra captured its third Governors’ Cup championship in four years and fourth title overall under Cone on Friday after demolishing Meralco in five games.
Of all the titles, however, the all-Filipino at stake every season is considered the most prestigious and Caguioa said winning it will be the team’s greatest feat if it happens.
Cone’s Ginebra always had the prolific Justin Brownlee at the forefront of its championship runs and going all the way without the versatile forward certainly presents a greater challenge.
“That’s one of the things that I want the guys to win this next conference. It’s gonna be another test. We’re not gonna be playing with Justin and I think if we win this all-Filipino that’s just gonna put the cherry on top,” Caguioa said.
“It’s been a long time. We would win whenever Justin is here but I think it would be a lot more special if we win this all-Filipino.”
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