‘Discipline, camaraderie’ make 2009 Purefoods squad stand out
MANILA, Philippines–Marc Pingris had been in a handful of era-defining champion teams in the Philippine Basketball Association, yet he feels that the 2009-2010 edition of the Purefoods squad that won the all-Filipino is simply a cut above the rest.
“In my 17 years in the league, I haven’t seen anything close to what coach Ryan (Gregorio) has put together,” he told the Inquirer in Filipino on the heels of the 10th year anniversary of the TJ Giants’ title run.
“Yes, I’ve been in a number of championship teams and other coaches, but coach Ryan’s squad [was simply different],” said Pingris.
But what exactly made the team—one Pingris said was not that “extremely skilled”—stand out?
“We had discipline,” he said. “And our camaraderie was just so special.”
“We were not really that skilled … Most of us were defensive players, and we were never envious of each other’s roles because everyone was so disciplined,” Pingris added.
Gregorio told the Inquirer that it was his being strict that helped forge such a bond.
“Through my being strict, the players became accountable for each other,” the three-time champion coach told the Inquirer.
And that wasn’t only the view Pingris and Gregorio shared.
“We could’ve gone far,” Pingris said, echoing his mentor’s take on Monday that such edition of the Giants would give PBA teams of today “some fits.”
“We’ve been in a couple of trips to the Finals [with that lineup],” he added.
Asked on how the Purefoods squad would’ve fared against Cone’s Grand Slam-winning San Mig Coffee Mixers which he was also a part of–Pingris, however, felt it could go either way.
“We can (beat them),” he said. “But we’re going to have a hard time. Coach Ryan himself said that battling coach Tim is hard because of his brilliance.”
“But we could beat them … and coach Ryan has proven it back then when we went 4-0 on coach Tim.”