SMART CLARK GIGA CITY — Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone was aware of Stanley Pringle’s exhaustion ahead of the homestretch of Game Three of their 2020 PBA Philippine Cup semis tiff with Meralco, Sunday night.
“We tried to take him out a number of times, give him a few breaks. But we didn’t want to extend the breaks beyond one or two minutes. We wanted to make sure he stayed on the floor, but with good breaks,” he said.
“He was really tired down the stretch.”
The decorated bench tactician has said many times before that the Fil-American guard is their closer. Pringle has fully embraced that role, and he proved again how much he does — despite feeling gassed out.
The former scoring champion made nine points in the last 6:37, helping the Gin Kings repel the Bolts, 91-84. They also bounced back from a disappointing Game Two loss last Friday, to take the 2-1 series lead.
Pringle himself also rebounded. From being held to just nine points last game, he finished with 24 points this time on a 50-percent clip. He also had nine rebounds and six assists in over 38 minutes of play.
“He knows he’s our finisher,” Cone said. “Like I said, we’ll run our offense all the way through him, until the last three or four minutes. It’s going to be Stanley, Stanley, Stanley, just like before it was Justin, Justin, Justin (Brownlee).
“Teams know it, but they just can’t seem to find an answer for him,” added the league’s most accomplished mentor with 22 championships.
“I guess he’s really that talented.”
Still, Cone said that it’s on him and the coaches to ensure that the 33-year-old cager from California stays fresh next time, so that he will have enough left in the tank in the endgame.
“The key for us coaches is to try and keep him fresh enough, so he has enough to play down the stretch,” he said. “If I can just play him the whole forty-eight, I would, I would never take him out.
“But he’s human, and he’s gotta get his rest. It’s really on us, not on him.”