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Pingres on confronting NBA players during the Gilas stint: I never back down

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Dossier- Mark Pingres escapes from Croatian Boyan Bogdanovic (L) to follow Gabi Norwood (R) wasting a daring losing match on Saturday against Gilas Pelepinas in Seville, Spain. FIBA.COM

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Mark Pingres has never been the one to hold back from any challenge and he has shown this in both PBA and in international competitions including those that pit him against NBA players.

The 6-foot-5-foot strong striker has always had his heart up his sleeve and has appeared on the ground in several of his matches on the international stage with Gilas Pelepinas.

Whether it was against Hamid Haddadi, Boris Diaw, Andres Nucioni, Giannis Antetokounmo, or Luis Scola, Pingres made sure to bring the battle.

He said he was always someone who never wavered and his attitude towards international players was exaggerated when Jimmy Alabag and his teammates told him to never show admiration towards NBA players during competitions.

“I remember Jimmy telling us, when we were team-mates on the Gilas team, that we shouldn’t be afraid of them. We should never ask for their pictures because if we did, they wouldn’t respect us,” said Pingres from the Philippines.

“I got that from him and that’s why I wasn’t excited to face them and just focused on the game. But it was still a challenge for me because these are the NBA players and I can guard them.”

Pingris never wavered so much that he never hesitated to take on turkey heart Ömer Asik during a tuning match heading into the 2016 Fiba Olympic qualification tournament.

‘Never play’

At 7 feet, Asik was seven inches taller than Pingris but that never stopped the Gilas star to demonstrate the passion with which the 13-year-old NBA veteran played.

Pingres joked, “I didn’t mean to put it in his nose and it went towards me, so I asked him, ‘What shampoo are you using? “I’ve never been a dirty player but I will never hold back.”

One player that Pingris respected the hell out of was an NBA MVP MVP for two times.

The two met against each other during the 2014 Fiba World Cup at a time when Antetokounmpo was barely a year into his NBA career and weighed nearly 50 pounds from his current 242-pound build.

Gilas played Greece on the second day of a 2014 brawl with Pengres assigned to defend 6ft 11ft Antitokounembo.

“If we play now, I will be his coach,” Pingres said with a laugh. “He improved a lot and was thinner than me when we played in Spain. He was very thin but he was very tall. He was unable to push me when I posted it and that is why I was able to score against him.”

“Right away? He’s a monster. He really loves basketball so he’s got the right shape and built his body.”

Due to his troubles, Pingres collected seven points and six rebounds against Antitokounmou with three points and six boards but the Greeks snatched that match 82-70.

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