It didn’t take long for Ginebra to address Stanley Pringle’s absence.
Days after disclosing that the former BPC won’t return for the PBA Governors’ Cup, the Barangay inked Nards Pinto to a three-year deal on Thursday in one of the first movements of the league’s first batch of legit unrestricted free agents.
“We wanted to provide depth to our guard position because of Stanley’s absence,” said coach Tim Cone. Last Saturday, he tweeted in response to a fan that Pringle will remain out for three months after surgery on his left meniscus.
Pinto is surely a welcome addition to the Gin Kings’ backcourt. They have mostly relied on LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, and young guns Kent Salado and Brian Enriquez with Pringle and veteran guard-forward Jared Dillinger out.
Dillinger has also been ruled out of the season due to a torn patellar tendon he suffered in practice. He and Pringle are among those in the injury/reserved list, together with Mark Caguioa, Joe Devance, and Aljon Mariano.
Another thing that Cone and Co. really appreciate about the former Arellano University standout is the ‘toughness and experience’ he can provide to Ginebra, who’s aiming to defend its Governors’ Cup title.
Well, the Gin Kings sure know what they’re getting from Pinto.
The 5-foot-11 gunner has quite become familiar with the crowd darlings, having played against him many times — especially when he became part of Meralco in 2019 that saw them fight for the season-ending tilt’s crown in the same season.
Pinto and the Bolts had a chance to atone for that heartbreaking Finals loss when they came seconds away from booting out their bitter foes in the 2020 Philippine Cup semis in Clark, until Thompson crushed their aspirations.
Now, he gets to be on the other side of the rivalry — just like what Dillinger did in 2019 when he signed with the Barangay after being placed by the MVP ball club in the UFA list in a decision that turned out to be so worth it.
“We like him because he brings a lot of toughness and experience to the position,” said Cone.
The second game of each playdate is also livestreamed on SMART Sports.