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Marc Pingris nearing return, thankful for wife Danica’s patience

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Marc Pingris is nearing a return to basketball action after more than a year away due to a torn ACL injury last year.

Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero has set June 22 as the possible date for Pingris’ return. They will also welcome Rafi Reavis, who underwent tooth operation this off-season following the Hotshots’ gallant seven-game Finals series loss against champions San Miguel in the Philippine Cup.

“Rafi and Ping will be ready on the twenty-second, hopefully – our game against Phoenix.

“That’s our target. Kailangan na namin sila, [kasi] lalo na sa big men, medyo hirap na kami. Those are our defensive bigs,” said Victolero after the Hotshots finally barged into the win column with a 98-88 win over the winless NLEX, Friday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

However, nothing is cast in stone yet, according to Pingris. For now, he is taking his time before finally making a much-awaited return to the Hotshots after 15 long months.

“Na-pressure ako,” admitted Pingris following Victolero’s target date of his comeback.

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“Gusto siguro ni coach na mai-lineup ako para maramdaman ko na rin yung floor, para ‘di na ako manibago kasi kakapain ko pa iyan sa umpisa eh.”

Though it is still uncertain whether the June 22 target date will come to fruition for Pingris, he admitted to signs of a successful return after joining the Hotshots full-contact, 5-on-5 practice for the past two weeks.

Now, Pingris is perfecting his landing and timing, especially given how long he has been out of basketball action.

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“It’s all about landing, timing, tsaka yung laterals, pero nakikipag-practice na ako the past two weeks. Five-on-five yun. May contact na. Nakikipag-scrimmage na rin ako sa kanila,” Pingris said.

Pingris suffered the said injury on March of 2018 in the Philippine Cup semifinals match of Magnolia against NLEX.

Three conferences and 15 months later, Pingris still has not returned, much to the confusion of his fans and pundits. An ACL tear injury usually has a recovery timeline of 6-9 months.

Apparently, though, there’s more to Pingris’ injury. His meniscus and MCL were also damaged, explaining the long duration of his layoff.

“ACL, meniscus, tsaka MCL. Sabay-sabay yun, kaya sinasabi ng mga tao sa akin bakit ang tagal kasi hindi lang talaga ACL tama ng tuhod ko. Iyon dahilan kaya tumagal.”

Fortunately for him, that long wait is finally coming to an end. He expressed gratitude to his wife’s patience during the agonizing year-long rehabilitation and therapy, which Pingris admitted had been a thorn in his family’s side at times.

“Gusto ko lang talagang pasalamatan yung wife ko eh, kasi di ‘ba talagang patient. Minsan umuuwi ako pagod ako, mainit ulo ko. Hindi nakakapag-laro sa mga bata pero laging patient yan,” added the Pozzurobio, Pangasinan native.

“Tsaka patience din ng mga boss, mga coaches, mga teammates ko. Nakaka-miss na rin maglaro,” he admitted.

“More than a year, kaya sobrang hard work talaga yung ginagawa ko kasi gusto ko na talagang maglaro.”

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