Magnolia forward Jean Marc Pingris is finally ready for a hardcourt return after missing 15 months of action due to a torn ACL which he suffered during the semifinals of last season’s Philippine Cup.
According to Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero, the 37-year old native of Pozorrubio, Pangasinan is set to rejoin the team on June 22 alongside Rafi Reavis who has also been sidelined due to a tooth operation he had during the off-season.
“Rafi and Ping will be ready on the twenty-second, hopefully, our game against Phoenix,” said Victolero.
“That’s our target. Kailangan na namin sila lalo na sa big men, medyo hirap na kami. Those are our defensive bigs,” added the one-time PBA champion mentor shortly after the team picked up its first win of the conference against the free-falling NLEX Road Warriors.
Pingris, for his part, admitted that he was planning to make his return after three more weeks and was caught off-guard by Victolero’s announcement.
“Na-pressure ako,” said the 3rd overall pick in the 2004 rookie draft.
The 15-year veteran, however, understands his coach’s plan to slowly integrate him back into the team’s system.
“Gusto lang siguro ni coach na mai-line up ako para maramdaman ko na rin yung floor para di na ako manibago kasi kakapain ko pa iyan sa umpisa,” said Pingris.
“Parang rookie na naman ako. Sixteen years old ulit,” added the former national team player in jest.