From scoring champion to PBA champion.
Five years since bringing his dazzling act to the pro league but missing out on the top prize, the spitfirish Stanley Pringle finally enjoyed his breakthrough with Barangay Ginebra's ascension as kings of PBA Governors' Cup.
"It's a blessing," Pringle said after the Gin Kings completed a 4-1 conquest of Meralco with a masterful 105-93 victory at a packed MOA Arena.
"I'm ready for another one."
Pringle entered the league in 2014 as Globalport's top draft pick and immediately made an impact, taking home the scoring title in 2018.
It had been a futile search for his first crown since his 2012 triumph in the Asean Basketball League with the Indonesia Warriors, though, as the Batang Pier could only reach as far the semifinals (2015-16 Philippine Cup, losing to Alaska, 1-4).
This changed middle of 2019 when NorthPort shipped the Fil-Am guard to Ginebra in exchange for Sol Mercado, Kevin Ferrer and Jervy Cruz. Pringle and his new team figured in a Last 4-four duel with TNT but suffered a 1-4 loss to the Terrence Jones-led squad.
Then came the season-ender, where the Gin Kings returned to the finals after stopping grand-slam-seeking San Miguel in the quarters and Pringle's former quintet NorthPort in the semis, 3-1.
"Man, it's just really difficult (to win a PBA title). Top to bottom, I could see it really takes (efforts from) all, from management to coaching staff, to players, to ball boys," he said.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone said mid-season acquisition Pringle was the "difference maker" in this campaign.
"What do you say about Stanley? He's the difference. He was the difference in this series that the one guy they had to pay attention to opened up things for Justin (Brownlee)," he said.
"Stanley and that ability to get to open court and finish through traffic, nothing quite gets the crowd going like that. And that's just a huge lift for us when he does something like that. He lifts the whole team because that lifts the crowd and he does a lot more out there than you think - he rebounds, he defends, he's good at making steals and he's a great scorer and passer," added Cone.
For Cone, the crowd favorites levelled up with the entry of Pringle.
"He's really, really special and he took us to the next level. Stanley presence was very much felt in this five-game series," he said.
Pringle delivered 17 points on a 7-of-14 (50 percent) shooting to go with eight assists, four rebounds and one steal in the closeout, firing 10 in the third as the Gin Kings pulled away with a 30-18 salvo.(OL)