Stanley Pringle is very aware of how tough the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup has been for defending champions Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
In last year’s Clark bubble, they started the tournament with four straight wins. This time, though, the Gin Kings only won twice in their first four assignments.
After eight outings, they have already lost five times, including back-to-back losses to fellow title favorites San Miguel Beer and TNT Tropang Giga.
“We all know that this conference has been a roller-coaster with everything that’s going on,” said the reigning Best Player of the Conference.
But being the brothers that they are, Pringle and Co. only told themselves a simple reminder: Stay together, no matter what happens.
“The best thing we could do is just stay together as a team, and keep our composure. And regardless of what happens, we know we’re always gonna have each other’s backs,” said the 34-year-old guard.
That was evident Wednesday night against Phoenix Super LPG. The Barangay were without top big man Japeth Aguilar due to an MCL sprain, and he was badly missed as his team fell down to as deep as 19 early.
In typical Ginebra fashion, however, they slowly chipped at the lead. And Pringle made sure that they wouldn’t suffer yet another loss, joining forces with LA Tenorio in the endgame by hitting the closing shots.
The Barangay went on to win, 94-87, to wake up from their funk. More importantly, they revived their playoff aspirations as they improved to 4-5.
“We know we’ve been through a whole lot, just with the situation going on with the conference, and just you know, the situation outside of basketball. So, we just stayed together as a team,” said Pringle.
“There’s definitely a sense of urgency, but regardless of our situation, we’re always gonna have each other’s back,” he furthered.
Pringle was at the forefront of the triumph with 31 points. But ever selfless, the former no. 1 pick also gave credit to his teammates, particularly Tenorio.
The 37-year-old made up for a scoreless outing versus TNT that saw him go 0-for-13 from the field by finishing with a conference-high 23 points on six treys. He also racked up five assists and four rebounds without a turnover.
“Oh man, it’s huge. He’s our captain, he’s a veteran, one who gives us all advice. Everybody’s gonna struggle; I’ve been struggling, you know everybody has their times,” said Pringle.
“Like I said it’s a team game. Like I said, we going to keep supporting each other. Doesn’t matter. This is a team. You know, one team.”