BOCAUE, Bulacan – Unable to take part in the Gilas Pilipinas program because of FIBA's eligibility rules, GlobalPort guard Stanley Pringle had to wait until the Philippines hosted the 2018 FIBA 3×3 Basketball World Cup before he could represent the country.
Teaming up with Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, and Christian Standhardinger in the national 3×3 team, Pringle quickly proved that he was a natural for the faster, more physical version of the game.
In their first game against Brazil on Saturday, he made all four of his lay-ups, breaking down his defender with ease on his way to the cup. The Philippines won, 15-7. Later that day, he scored six more points, but the Philippines lost to Mongolia, 17-21.
Two days later against Canada, Pringle scored only three points, and commited a blunder in the final 30 seconds of a heartbreaking 19-20 loss, which ousted the Philippines from the quarterfinals race. As if determined to make up for his poor play, Pringle poured it on in their final game against Russia.
The result: nine points on three close-range baskets, and three two-pointers. It was the first time in the tournament that he found his range from beyond the arc, but more than anything, it was his handles that wowed the crowd. Much like his former GlobalPort teammate, Terrence Romeo, Pringle has that ability to embarrass a defender with his slick ball-handling skills.
With Troy Rosario also getting into a rhythm (eight points, all on two-pointers), the Philippines crushed the third-seeded Russians, 19-12. They may not have made it to the quarterfinals, but they gave the Filipinos at the Philippine Arena something to cheer about – which was exactly what Pringle had hoped to accomplish.
"It was a great experience. Good thing we got to win the last game for the crowd, just showing us all the support," said Pringle. "It was a good experience."
To finally get to play for flag and country was an experience that Pringle so clearly cherished – especially as he made his national team debut at home, in front of a crowd that went wild for his every move.
"I expected the crowd to show the crazy support like they did. It was almost sold-out," said the 31-year-old guard. "I just, I just… I pictured it, but it's a whole different thing when you actually get to play for the country and put the jersey on."
"So it was overwhelming," he added.
Pringle had publicly taken responsibility for their loss to Canada, but in the end, he chalked it up to experience. He noted that they practiced for less than a month ahead of the World Cup, while still attending to their duties in the PBA.
Yet they were just a few bounces away from beating both Canada and Mongolia, and perhaps earning a breakthrough quarterfinals berth for the Philippines in FIBA 3×3.
"Well, I look at it more as a learning experience. No excuses, but we had about three weeks to get used to the ball, the rules," said Pringle. "Those guys, man – we give them all the credit, because they've been playing together for a couple of years."
"They edged us out with the experience that they had, and like I said, I take it as a learning experience, and we're proud of what we did," he added.
"Like I said, we had three weeks, and not only the three weeks – we had to work around the PBA games. So we did a good job," said Pringle, who also gave plenty of credit to 3×3 coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
With how his first-ever stint for the national team played out, it's no wonder that Pringle is looking forward to suiting up for the Philippines again in the future.
"Yeah, definitely," Pringle immediately said when asked if he would want to play 3×3 basketball for the Philippines again. "If they need me to play – give me a call. I'm here."
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