Marc Pingris has yet to embark on his new, challenging role as Pilipinas Super League commissioner, but the retired PBA legend knows exactly his priority when the upstart league launches.
"Gusto ko talagang ayusin ang game-fixing dyan," Pingris said in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News. "Alam naman natin ’yung nangyari previously dito."
Pingris was referring to the game between ARQ Builders-Lapu-Lapu City and the Siquijor Mystics, which were eventually expelled from the league and had their players and coaches banned from participating in the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup.
"Kung ang intention lang ng mga players is babuyin ’yung liga, wala silang lugar dito. Ipapakulong ko kayo," warned Pingris on players and their cohorts who will be found guilty of game-fixing.
"Kasi, kaya nagpapatuloy ’yung ganyan, hindi sila pinapakulong eh. Sinususpende lang sila at bina-ban sa liga. Ako, gusto ko talaga ipakulong ’yung may pakana ng game-fixing."
Although the many-time PBA all-defensive team member and 3-time defensive player of the year plans to crack down on players making a living out of fixing games, Pingris also wants to show compassion for fellow players who will stay committed to their profession.
A big fan of players who work hard and do whatever it takes to win, Pingris will always be on the side of players who are straight and value the importance of winning every game.
As commissioner, he plans to sit down with these players and show them the value of taking care of their livelihood as professional players.
"Gusto ko silang turuan rin kung paano mag-ipon, paano mag-invest habang bata pa sila kasi hindi naman forever ang basketball," added Pingris. "Ngayon pa lang, kailangan matutunan na nila kung paano mag-ipon and kung paano pahalagahan ’yung kinikita nila."
One of the PBA's 40 greatest players, Pingris formalized his retirement from playing when the old Purefoods franchise retired his jersey No. 15.
He and long-time teammate, PJ Simon, were given a tribute by the Magnolia Hotshots during halftime of the Christmas Day game between his squad and Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings.
His playing days may be over, but Pingirs has bold plans when he embraces this challenging role as commissioner.
But as head of the league, Pingris knows the value of referees. He believes he needs to earn their loyalty, which is why he has good plans for the game officials.
"Para mas maging loyal sila sa commissioner at sa liga, kailangan bigyan sila ng incentive," added Pingris. " ’Yung mga referees, nilalapitan ’yan. May mga iba't-ibang galamay lumalapit d’yan, kaya para makuha natin ang loyalty nila, ang gusto ko sana sa bawat sponsor na papasok sa liga, bigyan natin sila maski maliit na porsyento, para talagang ang loyalty nila nasa liga."
Pingris, the basketball legend, has yet to report to his new office, yet he already has a great vision for Pilipinas Super League. And basketball fans can only get excited.