THE clock is ticking for Marc Pingris and he knows it. But he’s still trying to will his body to do what part of his mind dictates.
“Hindi ko naman pinipilit katawan ko, pero panay ang rehab para makabalik pa,” said Pingris, whose status for the coming PBA season has been the subject of numerous speculations.
In an exclusive interview with Malaya-Business Insight, the veteran Magnolia forward said everything remains up in the air.
“Part ng mind ko, sinasabi, ‘Okay na. Puwede ng magpahinga.’ ‘Yung isang parte nagsasabi, ‘Subukan mo pa,’” related the 39-year-old.
The decision on whether to play for at least one more year, according to him, hinges on whether his body would recover in time and if it is still up to the rigors of another PBA campaign.
A good gauge should have been had last year. But bad luck compounded by the COVID pandemic prevented him from having that.
What was initially thought of a sprain suffered in practices for the Philippine Cup bubble turned out to be a knee injury, which resulted in a left calf muscle injury because he favored his other leg. With the lockdown due to the outbreak, Pingris was unable to get proper diagnosis and treatment.
“Na-apektuhan talaga ng lockdown. Tumatawag sa PT (physical therapist) namin, pinatingnan sa ibang doctors online,” related Pingris. “Pero nabigla kami talaga. Wala akong gamit sa bahay, kaya mahirap.”
The rehab has been going well. He could now do five rounds of jogging inside their subdivision, coupled with five days-a-week workouts at home and at a gym under the supervision of coach Aldo Panlilio.
“Pinakikiramdaman ko katawan ko. Kailangan palakasin ulit, kaya ayun, pinapalakas namin,” offered Pingris, admitting time is a luxury he doesn’t have.
Management has given Pingris until March 20 to make his decision and he wants to exert every effort to meet that, for various reasons.
“Nahihiya na ako sa management, kila coach (Chito Victolero),” offered Pingris.
“Nagpapasalamat nga ako, ang sabi nila, ‘Kung di talaga kaya, okay lang.’
“Tsaka ‘yung mga bata na gustong mag-PBA, ‘yung p’wedeng ipalit sa akin pag na-open up na ‘yung slot pag nag-decide akong mag-retire.”
Retirement is one thing he has contemplated, a move that has been deemed by many, including him, as long in coming.
“Kung tutuusin kasi wala na kong kailangan pang patunayan,” said the nine-time champion who has also been a 15-time All-Star and two-time Finals MVP in his sterling PBA career that started when he was picked No. 3 overall in the 2004 draft.
“Siguro, panahon na ring magpahinga. Imagine, 16 (years old) pa lang ako nag-ba-basketball na ako,” added Pingris.
“Pero sa isang banda, alam ko kaya ko pa. Kita sa takbo ng rehab ko. Isa pa, iba feeling ng naglalaro ka. Hinahanap-hanap ng katawan ko, practices, games, bonding sa teammates.
Hangga’t kayang maglaro pipilitin ko para walang regrets balang-araw, ‘Bakit di ko sinubukan pa?’”
Besides, Pingris does not want to simply vanish from the scene. “Gusto ko… tapusin ‘yung career ko, mag-exit ng maganda, ma-retire ‘yung jersey,” he said.