MANILA, Philippines – Stanley Pringle dropping 20 points is nothing new to PBA fans and the ever-loud supporters of Barangay Ginebra.
Across his eight-year PBA career, the 35-year-old gunner practically averaged 20 points per game, and was always expected to heat up at a moment’s notice with his blistering offense from anywhere on the court.
However, that has not been the case so far in the 2022-2023 season due to a long layoff from a left meniscus tear in 2021, and head coach Tim Cone is elated that his veteran ward chose Game 5 of the Commissioner’s Cup finals to turn back the clock.
“He just adds so much depth, even though he’s not 100% at this point. He’s definitely a weapon out there, and he’s a weapon that really, Bay Area has not seen, because he hasn’t been playing heavy, heavy minutes,” he said in the postgame presser.
“They don’t know the history of Stanley a year ago or two or three, and how dynamic he can be. So, he’s almost like a little secret weapon off the bench for us against Bay Area.”
Prior to his vintage eruption against Bay Area that saw him net 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting from three, Pringle only averaged 9.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in a little over 21 minutes per game as the primary backup to LA Tenorio and reigning MVP Scottie Thompson.
In fact, the 2020 Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference never hit double-digit scoring in the first four games of the finals against the Dragons, tallying only 21 points total on 8-of-17 shooting and 5-of-10 from deep.
But when Tenorio went down with a groin injury late in the second quarter, Pringle made it a point to not settle to his usual reserve role, and took over with 8 of his 20 points in the deciding frame to the delight of a record 21,823 fans at the Mall of Asia Arena mostly supporting the Gin Kings.
“Oh man. I was just glad to be out there, competing, giving a glimpse of how I used to move,” he said after coming out of the locker room with huge ice bags on both his knees.
“It’s just good to help the team. Out there doing what I could to help the team get a championship. Definitely happy today.”
Even the newly crowned three-time Best Import Justin Brownlee was more than happy to share the spotlight to his teammate after he set the tone with 37 big points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 steals, and 2 assists.
“Stan the man! You know, he’s hitting big shots for Ginebra and throughout his whole career, so he came up in the big moments, and we needed those,” he said.
“I think it was two threes he hit, it basically kind of sealed the deal for us. He stepped up big when LA went out of the game. We definitely expect him to do that.”
With the jury still out on Tenorio’s status for the possible title clincher in Game 6 on Wednesday, January 11, Pringle will definitely be dead-center in Bay Area’s crosshairs as the Dragons attempt to force a do-or-die Game 7.
“To be playing at this stage? This is all I ask for right here: to just be on this stage and play again,” Pringle concluded. – Rappler.com