MANILA, Philippines -- More than any other player, Stanley Pringle should shine for the Philippines when it competes in the 2018 Asian Games that starts this week in Jakarta, Indonesia.
This, according to current Ateneo de Manila University head coach and former Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin.
In a wide-ranging discussion with Eric Menk on his podcast, Staying Major, Baldwin explained that in his opinion, Pringle was the “game-changer" in the Philippine team that will compete in the Asiad.
“Not to put any additional pressure on Stanley, but he’s the best guard in Asia,” Baldwin said of the NorthPort guard, who is part of the 12-man line-up named by national team coach Yeng Guiao on Saturday.
“I’m telling you - it’s not even close. In my opinion, he’s also the best choice as a naturalized player for the Philippines,” Baldwin added.
The Fil-Am Pringle remains ineligible to play in FIBA’s 5-on-5 tournaments because he was unable to secure his passport before the age of 16. But because the rules are less strict in 3x3, Pringle was able to represent the country in the FIBA 3x3 Basketball World Cup last June in the Philippine Arena.
He was also deemed eligible to play for the Philippines in the Asian Games, paving the way for his international 5-on-5 debut.
His presence in the national team will be a massive boost, said Baldwin, especially in Guiao’s ball-screen heavy system.
“He’s the only one who’s a game-changer, because the ball is in his hands a lot, and it belongs in his hands a lot,” said Baldwin.
“He’s a great ball-screen guard,” he explained. “Unfortunately at the Asian Games, you’re not gonna have June Mar (Fajardo) and Greg (Slaughter)... but with Christian (Standhardinger) there -- and Christian’s such a hard-worker -- Christian will do a great job with Stanley.”
Baldwin further noted that the 31-year-old Pringle is not just an impact player on offense, he is also superb on the defensive end and carries a wealth of experience from his time in Europe.
“I just think he’s a superior player,” said the Ateneo coach.
“What a lot of people don’t know about Stanley -- because he’s a very quiet, humble guy -- is he’s got tremendous pride in his performance. Now, you put a Philippine uniform on top of that pride, and you got something special, in my opinion,” he added.
Baldwin expects Pringle to form a terrific tandem with Magnolia’s Paul Lee, who is another “great ball-screen guard.”
“That backcourt tandem will scare the hell out of the Asian teams,” he predicted. “I’m serious -- that is a great backcourt tandem.”
Baldwin is not the only coach who is expecting great things out of Pringle in his first stint with the Philippines in a 5-on-5 tournament.
Speaking at Ginebra’s celebration for its PBA Commissioner’s Cup triumph on Sunday afternoon, coach Tim Cone told ABS-CBN that he also believes Pringle will shine for the team.
“I don't think anybody is gonna be able to handle Stanley Pringle. I think that he will shock everybody,” said Cone, who also predicted that China will have to come up with a defensive scheme geared towards limiting Pringle specifically.
The national team left for Jakarta on Sunday night and will play their first game against Kazakhstan on August 16.
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