Stanley Pringle is relishing the champion tag after adding a PBA title with Barangay Ginebra to his growing collection of individual awards.
"It's a great feeling. Finally, I can say I got a championship out here, and I can just keep focusing on playing hard as I can as a player, trying to improve, and hopefully, win some more," the guard said during the team's victory Monday at the Metrotent Convention Center in Pasig.
Pringle has been repeatedly credited by coach Tim Cone and teammates for being "the difference" in the Gin Kings' five-game drubbing of the Meralco Bolts in the Governors' Cup finals, where he averaged 18.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists on steady 46.7 percent shooting.
"Stanley was the one guy that they had to pay attention to that opened up things for Justin (Brownlee)," said Cone.
"Stanley and that ability hitting the open court and finishing through traffic. Nothing quite gets the crowd going like that," he added. "He took us to the next level why we're able to win this series, this thing in five games. I think it was Stanley's presence."
A jovial Pringle, who endured six championship-less years before this one with the Gin Kings, was flattered at the praise heaped on him by the team.
"Oh, man! It's an honor, you know, any praise they have for me. I just tried to catch up with this group as (fast as) possible and just take their advice," he deferred. "So it was really just them helping me catch on with everything, coming from NorthPort. So I didn't really have to do much."
Ginebra already has an eye toward the start of the 2020 PBA season, where it will gun to unseat reigning five-time champion San Miguel from the top of the pecking order in the Philippine Cup.
The Beermen's dominance, along with challenges from other powerhouses and up-and-coming teams, will surely make capturing Ginebra's first All-Filipino crown since 2007 an arduous task, but Pringle -- whom the team believes will shift the odds in their favor once more -- says Ginebra should first take a break and not rush things.
"We gotta definitely rest up first, but they definitely have the goal of the All Filipino. And it's just really just step by step, one game at a time. And I'm just looking forward to the challenge, but you know, one step at a time. We can't get too far ahead of ourselves," he said.
Once the Gin Kings are able to do that and stay connected, Pringle believes it's only a matter of time until the team strings together more crucial wins that can keep them on top of the league for a quite a while.
"This conference was my first full conference and we won a 'chip. So definitely, if we stay together and if everybody continues to improve on everything and just being a team, I feel like we're gonna be at the top almost every time or around the top," said Pringle.