As a young player, Marc Pingris was able to learn a lot of things from Purefoods legends Jerry Codinera and Rey Evangelista.
Pingris was a rookie playing for FedEx, which drafted him in 2004, and was getting pointers from the “Defense Minister”, who was then part of the coaching staff of the Express.
“Si Kuya Jerry nung nasa FedEx pa kami siya talaga yung nagturo ng depensa dati,” Pingris told Tiebreaker Times in an exclusive interview. “Ang sabi niya sa akin, basahin mo lang kung saan yung galaw ng paa, hindi yung katawan. Hanggang ngayon, dala-dala ko pa rin yun.”
Before Pingris made his mark on defense, Codinera had a reputation as one of the best post defenders in league history.
He was a member of the PBA’s All-Defensive team eight times, and just like Pingris, he was also a solid rebounder.
No wonder, Codinera, a member of the league’s 25 Greatest Players saw a great deal of himself in Pingris when the former Purefoods center was still at the peak of his playing career.
“Parang ganun din ako dati nung nagsisimula pa lang gaya ni Ping. Rebounder and a very good role player. Ganun si Ping ngayon,” Codinera told sportswriters.
But if there’s one thing which Codinera and Evangelista like so much about Pingris, it’s the work ethic.
“Grabe work ethic niyang si Ping nung nasa FedEx pa kami,” added Codinera. “Yung dedication ni Ping nakikita ko talaga sa kanya, maski sa ensayo pa lang,” said Evangelista.
The hardwork and dedication are some of the things Pingris learned from the pride of Ormoc City. They were teammates for two seasons, winning the 2005-06 Philippine Cup.
“Nakikita ko kay Evangelista yung puso niya sa laro pati yugn hardwork. Kahit mas maliit siya, nakakakuha siya ng rebounds sa mas malalaki sa kanya. Dala-dala ko yung mga natutunan ko na yun,” said Pingris, who is hoping to share these learning to his younger teammates.