By WAYLON GALVEZ
After 16 seasons, 9 championships that included a ‘Grand Slam,’ and numerous individual awards, Marc Jean Pingris has decided to close the chapter of his colorful basketball career, saying it’s time to call it quits.
Pingris made his announcement through social media, with the 39-year-old forward thanking all who had been part in his basketball journey, especially his family that supported him throughout the years.
Through his Instagram account @jeanmarc15 he posted a 2-minute video of old photos and videos as he reflected on his stint in the PBA that started when he was selected No. 3 overall by Federal Express in 2004.
“I remember my name being called during the 2004 PBA Draft. Doon nagsimulang matupad ang pangarap ng isang batang palengke. 16 years na din ako sa PBA pero alam ko na ngayon na din ang tamang panahon para umpisahan ang bagong chapter ng buhay ko,” said Pingris.
After a season with FedEx, Pingris was traded to the Purefoods franchise where he made a name for himself as an energy guy with a knack on getting the rebounds and feared by rival players.
Under coach Ryan Gregorio, Pingris teamed up with James Yap and Paul Artadi that captured the 2006 Philippine Cup – his first in the PBA. He won the Finals MVP that conference, his first of two in his career.
He played one season with San Miguel Beer, which he helped capture the 2009 Fiesta Cup with coach Siot Tanquingcen, then he was moved back to the Purefoods franchise the following year, and right away, the team bagged the prestigious Philippine Cup.
However, according to Pingris, it was under coach Tim Cone that he really developed his all-around skills. Cone joined the team in 2011, and the team won its first championship during the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup with import Denzel Bowles.
“COACH TIM, it’s because of you that I grew to understand the sport as more than a game. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to become part of history with our 2014 grandslam. I am proud to have played the game we both love with you.”
Nevertheless, he said he was fortunate to have played with all the coaches he has been, including to the time when he started in the PBA with Joe Lipa, and in his last season with Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, coach Chito Victolero.
“Salamat sa COACHES na nag guide sakin – coaches coach Boyzie Zamar, Johnny Tam, Leo Austria, Siot Tanquincen, Ryan Gregorio, Chot Reyes, Jorge Gallent, Jason Webb, & Chito Victolero at asst. coaches. To all my TEAMMATES Thank you! Appreciate you all!
Likewise, he also credited the bosses and officials of San Miguel Corporation, including the late Danding Cojuangco, as well as current president and CEO of the company, Ramon S. Ang.
“Thank you sa SMC, BOSS DANDING, BOSS RAMON ANG, BOSS ALFRANCIS, BOSS ALEJO, GOV PARDO, BOSS CAP at sa muse ng Purefoods si mam REENA. Thank you sa lahat ng BALL BOYS kay DOC RAFFY, NICK, RC, JOJO.”
Aside from the PBA, Pingris endeared himself to Filipino basketball fans with his stints with Gilas Pilipinas, particularly when he guided the national team to a silver medal finish during the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship here.
That silver medal earned the Philippines a spot in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain, the first for the country in 40 years. The last time he played for Gilas was in 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) here.
“GILAS family, thank you!”
“PBA FANS, salamat sa suporta nyo. Hindi mabubuo ang PBA kung wala kayo. Mamimiss ko ang games, ang mga sigaw nyo, lalo na sa Manila Clasico!!!” said Pingris, referring to the games against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.”
“Sa TROPANG PINGRIS, Mahal ko kayo!”
Pingris, a native of Pozorrubio, Pangasiann who attended the Philippine School of Business Administration, reserved his last message to his family.
“To MIC & CAELA, I love you! Everything I do is for you. To my SOTTO family, I love you all! To DADDY VIC and MOMMY D, salamat sa supporta , pagmamahal at pagtanggap sakin. To Papi and Mamita, my PINGRIS fam. Thank you for your love and support.”
“To my wife, Danica, thank you for your love. Thank you for all the sacrifices you made for me & our family. Thank you for staying beside me, for pushing me to work harder & never give up. I love you!”
“Higit sa lahat, Salamat Lord God sa pag gabay at sa lahat ng blessings. It has been a glorious 16 years, #pinoysakuragi15signingoff.”