Marc Pingris is set to miss the rest of the PBA 43rd season after suffering an ACL injury in the final minutes of their Game One matchup against the NLEX Road Warriors last March 10.
This was a blow to the team as he was one of the anchors of the Hotshots’ top-rated defense. They had a stout defensive rating of 93.2 and allowed opponents to score the least points per game (84.0), and the worst shooting from the field (38.9 percent) and from downtown (26.6 percent). Of all qualified players, Pingris was among the three Magnolia players included in the top 10 defensive rating leaderboard. He was seventh (90.5), just behind teammates Justin Melton (89.6, third) and Raffy Reavis (88.8, second).
— PBA (@pbaconnect) March 10, 2018
On offense, Marc was low usage guy who willingly deferred to teammates. He only scored 6.7 points per game and was limited to getting buckets as a roll man and by cleaning up the glass. Pingris, however, was invaluable in other areas – he cleaned the boards and led the team in rebounding (9.3 per game); he was a reliable playmaker from the post, finding cutters and open shooters to dish out 3.1 dimes per contest; he was an effective rim deterrent, swatting away 1.1 shots per contest; and he was comfortable guarding anyone, whether he was tasked to body up opposing big men or switch on guards and contest them from the perimeter or prevent them from penetrating the paint.
Ian Sangalang and Raffy Reavis (and even Aldrech Ramos) will pick up the slack for Magnolia without Pingris. Sangalang was immediately thrust into huge minutes; after playing only 24.9 minutes all conference long, the stalwart from San Sebastian played 34 minutes and had 18 points and eight rebounds in their 99-84 win in Game Two against the Road Warriors last March 12. Someone had to absorb all those minutes, after all. He’s a versatile option on offense, holding a 111.0 offensive rating, and he’ll do fine alongside Reavis in holding down the paint for the Hotshots. Reavis, on the other hand, will continue to be their main option on defense in protecting the paint. He doesn’t offer much on offense (35.7 percent from the field, which is bad for a big), but Magnolia doesn’t really need him to score since they have enough firepower elsewhere in Paul Lee, Sangalang, Marc Barroca and Rome dela Rosa to make up for his lack of offense.