Growing up in a poor town in Pangasinan, Marc Pingris used to play street basketball even under the scorching angry sun.
“Pustahan pa kami nun dati ice tubig, pero wala talagang gustong magpatalo,” Pingris told Tiebreaker Times. “Doon ako nagsimula talaga maglaro sa barrio.”
But while dreaming of pursuing a basketball career, there’s one player Pingris always looked up to – fellow Pangasinense Danny Ildefonso. Ildefonso was a back-to-back MVP winner, one of only three players aside from Bogs Adornado and Alvin Patrimonio.
As a young player, Pingris idolized Ildefonso. “Siya talaga yung dahilan kung bakit andito ako ngayon,” said Pingris.
It was like a dream come true for Pingris when he found himself being traded to the Magnolia Beverage Masters where he joined his idol in the team’s frontline.
Pingris made it known to Ildefonso that he’ll always be on his side when the veteran center encountered some trouble with a heckling fan, the hardworking forward came to his side.
Both of them were suspended by the PBA for their actions.
“Idol na idol ko kasi si Lakay,” added Pingris. “Pinanonood ko lang siya dati ngayon nakarating na ako sa PBA. Kaya sa mga taong may ambisyon, huwag kayong mawalan ng pag-asa.”
Pingris was surprisingly included among the 15 players selected just recently by a committee to join the 25 Greatest Players named 14 years ago.
But the Purefoods forward was surprised with his inclusion.
“Nagulat ako, feeling ko nga parang ang tanda ko na at magreretiro na ko. Pero na-appreciate ko itong award na ito,” added Pingris.