Aside from the obvious fact that the upcoming Manila Clasico matchup in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup will be played without fans, some apparent changes and omissions across the board will be hard to ignore when Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia take the floor on Sunday.
In terms of absences, the “Bubble Clasico” will be played without some key figures that have shaped the rivalry over the last decade. Ginebra has continued to trudge on without Greg Slaughter, while the Hotshots are working their way around the loss of the retired PJ Simon and the injured Marc Pingris.
Magnolia big man Ian Sangalang said the team (1-3) still feels Pingris’ void on the court, but stressed that the veteran still contributes to the team despite being sidelined.
“It’s a bit difficult not having him around,” he said in Filipino on Sports Page on Tuesday. “He’s a huge presence for us not just inside the court because outside the court, he guides us too, especially during games when he teaches us things that we need to do.
“But he’s still able to help us. When we need him, we can call him anytime. That’s how he is, even when we were back in Manila. Whether you had a bad game or a good game, he’d always call you and text you to advise you or push and assure you that your game will come. He won’t pull you down, he’ll always help to lift you up.”