Stanley Pringle wearing a Gilas Pilipinas jersey was a dream come true for Filipino fans.
When talking about elite guards who can boost the national team, Pringle has always been part of the conversation. A FIBA rule, however, prevents the Filipino-American from representing the country as a local in 5-on-5 tournaments. Fortunately, due to more lenient eligibility rules for 3x3, he finally got the opportunity to play for the flag in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup.
The GlobalPort star made the most out of his Philippine team debut. He did not only showcase his impressive speed, athleticism, and ball-handling skills; he also displayed his humility and willingness to take responsibility for crushing losses.
When the Philippines dropped its must-win match against the undefeated Canadian team in a close 20-19 decision, Pringle quickly took the blame for it.
"It's on me," he said, as the home team bid goodbye to its quarterfinal hopes.
Hours later, Pringle made sure to bounce back by putting on a dazzling show and delivering nine points in the Philippines' rousing 19-12 victory over Russia. Determined to notch a win for the fans who braved the rains just to watch them play, the Filipinos gave their best performance against the third-seeded Russians.
"Good thing we got to win the last game for the crowd," Pringle said. "It was a great experience. I expected the crowd to show the crazy support like they did."
Aside from the joys of competing on the world stage in front of a passionate home crowd, Pringle also relished the chance of teaming up with Troy Rosario, Roger Pogoy, and Christian Standhardinger, whose individual strengths were a perfect mix for the 3x3 play.
"We complement each other so well. They space the floor, and you know, when I penetrate, if anybody tries to help, boom - pass to Troy, pass to Pogoy. Christian is a bully inside. It was really the team effort. Man, we just complement each other really well," he said.
With a 2-2 card, the Philippines finished third out of five countries in Pool C. But for Pringle, this record barely matters. The way they pushed higher-ranked teams to the edge, despite the short preparation time and limited 3x3 exposure, was more important to him.
"We did three weeks of practice and they've been playing together for years, so I think we gave them a good run for their money. They were shocked, I believe," he said about their tough competitors.
"We just beat Russia who was in the championship of the league two years ago, we beat Brazil. We lost to Canada, who are undefeated, by one point," Pringle went on. "I don't look at the rank anyway. You can rank us last, top, it doesn't matter to me. Just a number."
As it turned out, Pringle donning the Philippine colors was a dream come true not only for Filipino fans but more so for the 31-year-old Pringle.
"I just pictured it but it's a whole different thing when you actually get to play for the country and put the jersey on. It was overwhelming," he expressed.
When asked if he's willing to join the national team again in the future, he responded positively with no hesitations.
"Yeah, definitely," he enthusiastically said. "If they need me to play, give me a call, I'm here."