Pingris to miss Star’s first two games with bruised left hip

Top Star big man Marc Pingris is expected to miss at least two games in the 2017 PBA Commissioners Cup as he recuperates from a bruised left hip which he sustained in the course of the Hotshots’ gruelling semifinals battle with Barangay Ginebra in the recently-concluded Philippine Cup.

by Jerome Lagunzad

No less than Star’s physiotherapist Nick Ocampo shared the development on Wednesday afternoon, with the 6-foot-4 Pingris showing up in street clothes during the Hotshots’ latest training session at the Ronac Gym in Greenhills, San Juan.

Ocampo admitted Pingris underwent an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) test last Friday and was advised by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jose Raul Canlas on Monday to give himself ample time to let his swollen hip heal and have another MRI test on March 24.

“Sa ngayon, bawal siya sumali sa anumang (full contact) training. Immobilized siya at all. Even ‘yung weights, bawal pa siya. We just have to let the bruises heal first,” said Ocampo, adding Pingris can only undergo an aqua (pool) training for the meantime.

“We’ll see it from there. ‘Pag bumaba na ‘yung bruising, gradually ipapasok na namin siya ulit sa full-contact training. But early next week, mag-a-aqua training muna siya.”

The development should be considered a tough pill to swallow for the Hotshots, who made heads turn with their impressive showing under first-year coach Chito Victolero, only to see their initial campaign end at the hands of the Gin Kings in an epic semis duel that went the full seven-game route.

In a separate interview, Pingris admitted he sustained the injury following a hard fall while trying to stop Gin Kings counterpart Japeth Aguilar’s inside incursion in the course of the Hotshots’ 67-91 loss in Game 6 last February 20 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

“‘Yung bagsak naming dalawa ni Japeth tapos pag-dive ko sa bola sumalpak ako,” admitted the 35-year-old native of Pozzorubio, Pangasinan. “Sabi ng PT namin, kailangan talaga magpahinga muna ako bago ‘yung susunod na MRI.”

Without Pingris, who averaged 7.7 points on 57.6 percent clip and 7.9 rebounds on top of 2.5 assists and 1.0 block per game in the Philippine Cup, the Hotshots are hoping athletic import Tony Mitchell, a former second round pick of the Detroit Pistons back in 2013 NBA draft, can help fill up the slack.

Star will open its campaign in the mid-season conference against Phoenix on March 22 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum before colliding with GlobalPort in the tourney’s first-out-of-town match set on March 25 at Tubod, Lanao del Norte.

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