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By any standard, GlobalPort sucked last season. The Batang Pier were hoping to rectify that by drafting former Penn State Nittany Lion Stanley Pringle using the top overall pick in the 2014 PBA Draft. In this edition of the Hoop Nut One-on-One we’ll see if GlobalPort is, indeed, on the mend, and whether Pringle has been a big part of that or not.
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GlobalPort Batang Pier won a total of 7 games out of 32 games played during the 39th season of the PBA. They managed a lone win in each of the import-laden conferences (Governor’s and Commissioner’s Cups). They failed to advance in 2 of the 3 tournaments, and their highest finish was 7th place out of 10 teams. Suffice to say, GlobalPort was NOT very good last season. They needed an infusion of new talent. Welcome to GlobalPort, Stanley Pringle!
Stanley Pringle was the consensus #1 overall pick during the 2014 PBA Draft. He is a Filipino-American player who played collegiate ball in the USA. He also has experience playing professional ball in Asia. Now, he has the chance to become an elite player in the PBA and raise Batang Pier from obscurity. A successful stint during the Philippine Cup should do wonders for GlobalPort and Pringle.
In his first 2 games, Pringle averaged 16.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He is also shooting over 50% from the field. He has been as good as advertised. This guy can do everything on the court. He has solid range, good handles, and his basketball IQ is above average compared to a regular rookie. Furthermore, his best asset is his ability to rebound the ball like a forward, then bring the ball up like a guard to start the transition offense (or fastbreak) going for Batang Pier. How many forwards can bring the ball up and initiate the break? Not many. How many guards can rebound the ball with ferocity? Only a handful. Pringle can do both jobs with ease.
Some have likened Stanley Pringle to Jayson “The Blur” Castro of Talk N Text. Both are powerful guards that can bang with some bigger guys while still being able to run nearly as fast as smaller guards. Castro is a much better shooter and playmaker at this stage of his career while Pringle is still learning the ropes in the PBA. However, Pringle has the physical edge over Castro since he is taller and bigger than The Blur, about 2-3 inches height advantage. Pringle is also about a year younger and has “fresher” legs because he did not compete with Smart Gilas unlike Castro.
On the other hand, Pringle needs to improve his defense. He cannot simply rely on his athletic skills to recover on defense like when trailing his guy off a screen. He also needs to avoid gambling too much on passing lanes. A more conservative (and better) approach is to stay with his guy and deliver intense off-ball and/or on-ball pressure. Pringle has the strength and ability to become an excellent defender once he focuses more on those aspects of his game.
Offensively, Pringle can already drive to the hoop with relative ease and he can finish even with contact. However, his outside shot needs more work and more consistent three-point shot will do wonders for his penetrating style. In addition to that, Pringle should also try to incorporate post-up moves in his arsenal. His size and strength will always give him the advantage in the post on most (if not all) guards in the PBA.
Overall, Pringle has been impressive in his first two games in the PBA. But can he be consistent throughout the season? More importantly, can he help GlobalPort win more than 7 games for the whole season? We will have to wait for the answer, but, if you ask me, it is a resounding Y-E-S!
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The first time I really saw Pringle play was back when he was still playing for the Indonesia Warriors in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL). He formed a potent pairing with Indon playmaker Mario Wuysang and led the Warriors to their first and, so far, only ABL title. Even then, he already flashed the moves that are slowly making him highlight reel material in the PBA.
This is a guy who could leave his defender in the dust with wither his wicked first step or his killer crossover. He’s a deadly shooter from long distance and can finish strong around the basket. He also possesses great court vision and can hit teammates in easy scoring spots. In short, he has the skill-set to be a star on practically any level of basketball.
Has he shown that so far in the PBA? Well, as Rolly asserts, his numbers have been eye-poppingly impressive. By now, any and all PBA observers certainly know he can do damage from anywhere and in a plethora of ways. In his latest game, he had to match-up against former Gilas point guard Mark Barroca and though GlobalPort lost, Pringle held his own with 20 points, 5 boards, 4 dimes, and 3 steals.
Needless to say, if he can consistently put up similar stats, then he’ll definitely deliver on the promise of being the consensus Rookie of the Year favorite. I the stays true to form, he should be an All-Star as well.
But, and this is a pretty big but, is that enough to lift GlobalPort from the cellar of the PBA?
I say no.
On his own, despite how talented he is, in this league, I don’t see Pringle carrying GlobalPort into the upper echelon. Sure, he, along with Terrence Romeo and Alex Cabagnot, completes a terrifying troika of guards for coach Pido Jarencio, but I don’t believe even their combined firepower will be enough to compensate for the fact that their frontline is pretty shallow and they lack lockdown perimeter defenders.
I mean, yes, Pringle is awesome, but what he gives the Batang Pier is something they already had in spades anyway — great perimeter scoring and playmaking. Drafting him made sense from a best-player-available standpoint, but it didn’t plug the team’s holes.
Case in point, in the Batang Pier’s first game of the season, they were matched up with the NLEX Road Warriors. In that game, Pringle, Cabagnot, and Romeo scored a total of 70 points, but they still fell short. For most that encounter, in fact, GlobalPort seemed to be well in-control, leading at the half and heading into the fourth period. When the final frame commenced, however, the Road Warriors exposed the Batang Pier’s hole in the middle as Asi Taulava dominated at will. The big Fil-Tongan scored a dozen fourth quarter points and got to the free throw line with impunity as nobody on the Batang Pier’s frontline could stop him. Wing scorers Mac Cardona and Aldrech Ramos also did well in this game, combining for 36 markers, with Ramos making all three attempts from long range.
Interpretation? GlobalPort might as well be the PBA’s version of the Phoenix Suns. They have great guards who can do wonders on offense, but they don’t have the kind of interior presence and overall defensive toughness that would elevate them alongside the true title contenders.
So, is Stanley Pringle just what the doctor ordered? As good as he is, as jaw-droppingly awesome as I think he will be in the very near future, I just don’t think he’s the be-all, end-all answer to GlobalPort’s woes.