Pingris with an off-court assist

Published November 17, 2020, 5:18 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Marc Pingris is a basketball hero, on and off the court. (PBA Images)

Marc Pingris of the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok is among the well-loved players in the PBA.

His determination and hard work to win games, be it in the professional level or when he plays for the national team in various international tournaments, endeared him to basketball fans.

Combine it with his charity work and willingness to go out of his way to help individuals or people in need, Pingris has always found ways to lend a helping hand to the best of his ability.

Pingris once again showed his “soft spot” for the needy when he provided several basketball stuff to Eddie Wenceslao, a one-legged baller who – despite his handicap – captivated the hearts of many with his skills.

“Ang galing niyang mag-basketball… grabe. Maski na ganun na may kapansanan siya, sobrang galing pa din talagang maglaro,” Pingris told Manila Bulletin Tuesday in a phone interview.

“Kaya natuwa ako talaga sa kanya, kasi determinado siya. Maski na ganun ang kalagayan niya, talagang laro pa din siya. Nakaka-tuwa kasi yung ganun na kahit na mahirap, pursige pa rin,” added Pingris, who missed the team’s campaign due to a knee injury in the PBA restart in a bubble in Clark, Pampanga.

Pingris met Wenceslao last Saturday at Titan Fort in Taguig City.

There, the former Gilas Pilipinas stalwart gave Wenceslao a Nike basketball shoe, several apparel like shirts, shorts, socks and bags, as well as his signed jersey of the Magnolia hotshots.

Pingris, known as “Pinoy Sakuragi” of the Philippines, likewise surprised Wenceslao with a three-wheeled scooter.

“Nasabi niya kasi sa akin bago pa kami magkita na pangarap talaga niya na magkaroon ng motor. Kasi pag may pupuntahan siya, minsan nahihirapan siya (commute). So renegaluhan natin siya nito ngang sorpresang motor,” said the 39-year-old Pingris.

However, more than the things that Pingris gave Wenceslao, it was the opportunity to be able to walk again.

Pingris, with the help of his friends from SGG Orthocare Prosthetics and Orthotics, will provide Wenceslao – who lost his leg with an accident when he was 17-years-old – with a prosthetic right leg.

“Nasukatan na siya… hopefully makatulong sa kanya sa pagta-trabaho niya. Saka siyempre sa paglalaro niya ng basketball… grabe ang galing talaga, lalo step back jump shot,” he said.