Star's return to prominence has Pingris happy again
Paul Lintag on Feb 06, 2017 08:31 PM
"Syempre happy kami na nakabalik kami. Deserve naman namin yun kasi pinaghirapan talaga namin." --- Marc Pingris.
Star's well-publicized struggles from the past PBA season are no more.
Following a sweep of the Phoenix Fuel Masters in their 2017 Philippine Cup quarterfinals series Monday, the Hotshots have made their triumphant return in the PBA semifinals, the team's first since the 2015 Governors' Cup.
This is also the first time Star has made it this deep in the All-Filipino since the 2014 edition of the tournament or you know, the year they basically ran the entire league to win a Grand Slam.
Forward Marc Pingris, who has been through it all with the Purefoods franchise, is obviously elated with their return to prominence.
"Syempre happy kami na nakabalik kami. Deserve naman namin yun kasi pinaghirapan talaga namin," Pingris said after a 91-71 victory over the Fuel Masters.
"Gutom talaga kami makapasok. Nagpapasalamat din kami kay coach [Chito Victolero] sa patience na ginawa nya," he added.
Speaking of coach Chito, the rookie Star mentor has the Hotshots completely committed to defense this season.
And it has worked wonders so far as the team has now won six straight games by an average of 27 points. However, Star's focus to defense actually paying off shouldn't surprise anybody, it's the same style the then San Mig Coffee used in winning four straight conference titles in 2013-2014.
"Si coach Chito at coach Tim, defensive coaches sila. Iisa ang style nila. Sinasabi sa amin ni coach Chito na kung gusto namin na makuha yung panalo, kailangan naming dumepensa," Pingris said, recalling their success three years under now Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
"Yun din ang sinasabi ni coach Tim, na kung gusto namin makapunta ng Finals, kailangan naming dumepensa. So parang same. Kumbaga, same style," he added.
Despite making a return trip to the semis, Pingris is far from satisfied with his team's effort. After all, Grand Slam champions simply don't settle for anything less than a title.
"Kailangan paghandaan pa namin. Happy kami pero konti pa, mas masaya pag Finals," Pingris said.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8