by Ernest Hernandez
After missing more than a year of PBA action, Marc Pingris is close to returning for the Magnolia Hotshots.
Needing services of defensive big men to back up import James Farr, Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero hopes to have Raffy Reavis and Marc Pingris back in the roster by June 22.
“Raffy and Ping will be ready hopefully by 22nd in our game against Phoenix. That is our target,” said Victolero.
Reavis has been out due to tooth extraction and will most probably return on June 22 than Pingris.
“Hopefully, makasama na namin sila. Kailangan na naming sila. Lalong-lalo na sa big man, hirap kami. That two guys are my best defensive bigs and hopefully makasama namin sila,” he adds.
Suffering an ACL/MCL tear, took a lot of rehab time for “Sakuragi”. With only days away from the target date of his return, Pingris wants to take things slowly before he catches his usual rhythm one again.
“Gusto ako siguro lineup ni coach para maramdaman ko na rin yung floor- kasi kakapaain ko pa iyan sa umpisa, eh. Parang rookie na naman ako, 16-years-old na naman ako, diba?” said Pingris.
Already practicing with the Hotshots for the past two weeks, Pingris already had chances of doing full contact drills and scrimmages with his teammates.
“It’s all about the timing and yung landing and laterals,” said Pingris on his basis for returning to the court.
“Pero nakikpag-practice na ako two weeks sa kanila. Nakipag-five-on-five na ako, may contact na at nakikipag scrimmage na ako sa kanila,” he adds.
Pingris admits that at times, he needed to have full rest after practicing with his teammates.
“Minsan sinasabihan ko si coach pagka-sore ako kasi minsan kapag galing sa practice, pahinga ng konti, kain lang at rehab ng konti.”
The three-time PBA defensive player of the year did not guarantee a return on June 22 but vows to make a comeback in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.