Magnolia's Marc Pingris skipping PBA bubble to treat calf injury

Marc Pingris is the only player left out of Magnolia's roster for the PBA bubble in Clark, Pampanga, coach Chito Victolero confirmed Wednesday.

The 38-year-old star will not be playing in the Philippine Cup resumption as he recovers from a right calf injury he aggravated during one of the Hotshots' batch workout sessions. Pingris is dealing with chronic foot and ankle injuries as well.

"Chronic foot/ankle injury radiating to lateral calf muscle," Victolero described. "He needs to rest it."

This is also the same calf injury that kept Pingris out of Gilas Pilipinas' lineup for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers last February, as well as Magnolia's lone game of the season against San Miguel last March.

"It's the injury also that he had before the start of the conference. Remember, he missed the first game because of the injury. And then it healed but during our sessions in the individual skills training, he got injured again," the coach explained.

Pingris also confirmed the development.

"I injured my foot so I won't be able to join," he said in Filipino in a text message. "But I know that the team has a good chance."

Pingris announced Tuesday on his Instagram page that he would not be joining the 1-0 Hotshots in the season restart, though he didn't specify in his post why exactly he opted out of the bubble.

"Good luck guys! Sorry di makakasama kuya nyo ngayon (I can't join you)," he wrote. "Babawi ako next time promise yan (I'll make it up to you next time, that's a promise)!"

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year only played 21 games last year as he recovered from an ACL injury that sidelined him for about a year and averaged 3.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in only 14.7 minutes of action.

Victolero said he asked Pingris to sit out so he can fully focus on his rehabilitation -- something the veteran wouldn't be able to do inside the bubble.

"Here in the bubble, it's a short tournament. In one month, the eliminations are over. The games are continuous and we cannot focus on Ping also because we need to focus on our preparation," he said. "At least he can prepare on his own, and he can do what he needs to do, which is rehab."

"We pray and we hope that he recovers as fast as possible in time for the first conference next season."

Only 14 players are on the official roster for the Hotshots, according to Victolero.

On board are Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang, Rafi Reavis, Chris Banchero, Mark Barroca, Jackson Corpuz, Justin Melton, Jio Jalalon, Kyle Pascual, Rome dela Rosa, Michael Calisaan, and Mon Abundo.

Also on board are Jessie Saitanan, signed last April, and rookie Aris Dionisio, who missed the Hotshots' offseason and is expected to log good minutes in the frontcourt.

"We expect Aris to help us in the absence of Pingris," said Victolero.

Pingris is only the latest player to opt out of the bubble after NLEX's Larry Fonacier and Cyrus Baguio and SMB's Matt Ganuelas-Rosser earlier begged off.

Also not in the bubble are Alaska's Sonny Thoss -- whom coach Jeff Cariaso said has not officially retired yet -- and recovering stars Robert Bolick of NorthPort and June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel.