Pingris and Fajardo bare their hearts after loss to New Zealand

(Image from FIBA)
*This first appeared on FIBA.com.

The Philippines absorbed their second and final loss in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament last night at the hands of New Zealand. The result eliminated Gilas Pilipinas from Olympic contention and pretty much broke the hearts of Filipino hoop nuts everywhere.

Two of the most important and iconic players for the Philippines are veteran power forward Marc Pingris and two-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo. Pingris was not able to make much of an impact in Gilas’s two losses, but he is one player who truly embodies “puso.” Fajardo, for his part, had some brilliant moments in their loss to the Tall Blacks.


Many feel Pingris may be in the homestretch of his career with Gilas Pilipinas, while Fajardo is expected to continue developing as a potentially top-tier big man for the national team.

Pingris and Fajardo talked to FIBA.com.

FIBA.com: What made this game against New Zealand tough for you guys?
Pingris: Number one — they beat us in rebounding and second chance points. They came out with a lot more energy. They were hungrier, and it’s clear that they wanted to win so badly. I’m sorry to say this, but we came out flat. They also scouted us really well.

FIBA.com: What can you say about Gilas Pilipinas’s effort tonight against the Tall Blacks?
Pingris: Our effort and desire were there, but New Zealand just shot the ball too well. Even when we tried to close out and challenge their shots, they still managed to hit their two-pointers and three-pointers. I’m certain we prepared for them well. We watched tape and studied them, which makes the loss hurt even more.

FIBA.com: What should the Philippine players, especially the young guys, learn from this?
Pingris: They should see this as a lesson. We need to stay focused and give everything we have in every game. We all need to remember every single detail our coaches tell us. Our coaches have a lot of experience, and they know what they’re talking about. Teamwork needs to be a priority over individual skills. In terms of pure talent, we know we are not deeper than the other teams, so we can win only if we trust each other and have “puso.”


A photo posted by Enzo Flojo/Hoop Nut (@thehoopnut) on

FIBA.com: What’s your message to the fans of the Philippines?
Fajardo: We want to apologize because we fell short, but we also want to thank all the people who showed their support.

Pingris: We know a lot of our countrymen came out to cheer and even pray for us. Even in our training camps in Europe, a lot of people came out. Of course, we also want to thank our families and the team staff.

FIBA.com: What’s your outlook now for future tournaments with the Philippine national team?
Fajardo: Gilas will continue to play hard and with “puso.” Of course, if I’m needed and available, I’ll heed the call. I will play.


FOR MORE ON FIBA HOOPS, CHECK THIS OUT!

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR ON TWITTER: @hoopnut 

LIKE OUR FAN PAGE ON FACEBOOK, TOO! 


Previous
Next Post »
0 Comment