It seems to be the season for persons with the nickname ‘Ping.’
In politics, despite allegations in the past linking him to some unsavory activities, Senator Ping Lacson, like his erstwhile nemesis Maid Miriam, is coming out from the PDAF and DAP rubble with untarnished armor.
In basketball, it has been the season of Mark Pingris—or simply Ping, as he is fondly referred to by the tv commentators.
At the FIBA Asia Championships, Pingris was an indispensable cog in the successful Smart Gilas campaign. In the recently-concluded PBA Governors’ Cup, San Mig Coffee could not have made it without Ping. He is one player who is consistent day in and day out in terms of effort.
Mark Pingris has been always like that.
Now, with experience and refinement to his skills, he should be considered as the number one slot man in the country, even though Ping is a little undersized for the position. He was the only one who was able to match up with Junmar Fajardo, even outplaying the Cebuano behemoth several times.
Pingris is proof positive that if an athlete works hard to augment his natural talent, he will become one of the best, if not the best in his game.
The ripening and maturation of Ping reminds me of another very raw material who was all force and strength, but sorely lacking in finesse—Robert Jaworski.
As a rookie with the UE Red Warriors, the most spectacular aspect of Jawo was his big feet, which allowed him to run back and forth the entire game and barrel through the opposition.
That was I guess was where he got his nom de guerre “The Big J,” more for his feet rather than his skills. No one then could have guessed that Bobby Jaworski would become the compleat player that he turned out to be.
Mark Pingris was awarded for his tireless brand of play with the MVP Award for the Championship Series. So well-deserved, probably even overdue.
Watching Game 2 of the championship series, I told myself that if the Coffee Mixers win, Ping will be the MVP.
The capacity crowd at the Araneta Coliseum also knew it before the final whistle was blown. When it became obvious that Tim Cone was going to bag his 15th PBA Championship, the crowd was already calling out the name of Pingris as MVP.
If Petron had won, it would have been Junmar Fajardo which would have been a fitting compensation after having been robbed of the Rookie of the Year Award.
Even beasts of burden have to rest.
It was a long season and Ping was actually practicing and playing for four, including the FIBA Asia tournament— and for sure, always with all his heart.
During the courtside interview, he admitted that he was tired and that he needed to rest. Well deserved Mr. Pingris.
In the meantime, time to recharge and get ready for the next season, which opens in less than three weeks. No matter what you do, stay healthy for the Gilas Pilipinas stint at the Worlds in Spain, for your shoes are too big to fill.
I look forward to many, many years of the brand of basketball that you bring every time you put on a uniform.
To you, Coach Tim Cone and the rest of your team, a well-deserved championship.
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