By JONAS TERRADO
Magnolia Pambansang Manok officially retired the numbers of Marc Pingris and PJ Simon during halftime of the team’s PBA Christmas Day clash with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The two greats of the Purefoods franchise received a framed replica of their Magnolia jerseys from San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua and team governor Rene Pardo.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone, who handled both players during the team’s 2014 Grand Slam run, also took part in the event along with Pingris’ wife Danica and mother Erlinda and Simon’s other half Jehza.
Pingris couldn’t help but to shed a tear and make some witty remarks as he paid tribute to everyone who had a big part in his career, particularly his mom.
“Gusto ko lang i-honor yung mother ko sa pagpalaki niya sa amin dahil di ko alam ang isang batang palengke ay makakalaro sa PBA,” said Pingris, who won eight of his nine championships during two stints with Purefoods.
Simon had to do it the hard way after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2001 PBA Draft, playing for the Davao Eagles of the Metropolitan Basketball League and Hapee in the Philippine Basketball League before being signed by Purefoods in 2004.
He would play all of 16 seasons with Purefoods, also claiming eight championships with his vital role providing the scoring punch off the bench.
“Hindi lahat ng player nabibigyan ng ganitong pagkakataon na ma-retire yung jersey,” said Simon.
Pingris and Simon joined Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera and Rey Evangelista in the list of jerseys retired by the team.