Pingris itching to return to action in Governors' Cup

Marc Pingris and coach Chito Victolero both expect the veteran forward to get off to a fast start in the upcoming Governors' Cup. KC Cruz/ESPN5

Magnolia's veteran forward Marc Pingris is managing expectations when he finally has a chance to play for a full conference in the upcoming 2019 PBA Governors' Cup.

The 6-foot-5 Pingris played just seven games for the Pambansang Manok during the Commissioner's Cup, averaging 2.71 points and 3.57 rebounds after recovering from a torn ACL, an injury he sustained in March 2018 during the playoffs against NLEX.

Magnolia's import woes, coupled by a slow start, marred the team's performance in the latest conference. The team eventually ended its campaign with a two-game shutout at the hands of long-time rival Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals.

Pingris though refused to dwell on that, returning to his individual workout a day after Magnolia's failed title bid in the Commissioner's Cup.

"Whatever I started doing when I got cleared, I just kept doing that and simply added more weights as I try to keep myself fit for the next conference," Pingris told ESPN5.

"I just ran, do my workout and even when I'm in Pangasinan, I kept working out to keep myself in shape," he added.

Magnolia will be defending its Governors' Cup crown starting in September, which Pingris admits is a daunting task considering the tough opposition.

"I simply want to help the team because I missed contributing and helping the team win the games," said Pingris.

And though he's won nine PBA championships in his decorated 15-year pro career, Pingris refused to get the spotlight in his return.

"Not that I'm trying to sound boastful, but before, the play goes through me," he said. "But now, I was telling coach Chito [Victolero] that whatever help I can give, I will give that to the team. I don't need to have the ball to help because as you can see, the team has proven they can win even without me."

As far as Victolero is concerned, he expects Pingris to pick up where he left off.

"I expect Ping to be aggressive once we start the conference. Of course, it's understandable that he had a slow start (in the Commissioner's Cup) since he was out of action for over a year," said Victolero.

The 2018 PBA Coach of the Year believes Pingris can slowly get back to the groove as he defends shorter imports this time.

"This [Governors' Cup] can be his bounce-back conference because the imports are shorter here. At least, once we reach the playoffs, he would have fully adjusted and the fans can finally see the old Pinoy Sakuragi back," said Victolero.