Marc Pingris surprised but grateful for latest Gilas Pilipinas call-up

Magnolia's veteran big man Marc Pingris said his inclusion in the Gilas Pilipinas 24-man for the first window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers came as a big surprise.

At 38, Pingris admitted he's no spring chicken, but with the opportunity right in front of him, he vows to lay it all out in the hopes of making the final 12.

"Seryoso ba 'yan?" Pingris asked ESPN5 on Friday when asked to comment on his inclusion at the 24-man Gilas pool.

"But honestly, I feel blessed just to have my name included in the pool. We all know I just recovered from a knee injury so to me, it's a big surprise."

The many-time PBA All-Defensive team member had slowly reintegrated himself back to Magnolia in the 2019 season after recovering from an ACL tear on his knee, which he suffered during the 2018 Philippine Cup playoffs versus NLEX.

Joining a pool that includes several collegiate standouts and incoming PBA rookies, Pingris welcomes the idea of serving as mentor to the young ones.

"Since I'm one of the veterans, I can serve as a guide and mentor the younger players in the pool," he explained.

"But of course, I'll still give my 100 percent in practice to try to get to the final 12."

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the PBA on Friday released the 24-man Gilas pool headlined by Kiefer Ravena, CJ Perez, Christian Standhardinger, Pingris and Japeth Aguilar.

Pingris and Aguilar are the two remnants of the Gilas side that played in the 2013 FIBA Asia men's championships in Manila and the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Seville, Spain. The veteran bruiser last suited up for the national team in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in Manila. He was also part of the Gilas team that placed second in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship held in Changsha, China.