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Hotshots plot Pingris, Simon retirement

It would be a great idea to hold a ceremony for both of them.

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MARC Pingris gets a fitting send-off from the Magnolia Hotshots. / Photograph by RIO DELUVIO for the Daily Tribune @tribunephl_rio

Magnolia is now looking at the possibility of holding a jersey retirement ceremony for Marc Pingris and PJ Simon when the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) opens its 46th season this month.

Head coach Chito Victolero said the Hotshots management is eyeing to push through with the jersey retirement of Simon and Pingris once the PBA announces the scheduling of its season within late June or early July.

“I think it will happen soon, we just need to wait for the league to start,” Victolero said in a phone conversation with the Daily Tribune Wednesday.

“(The management) will plan it and determine what kind of ceremony is the best for Ping (Pingris) and PJ (Simon) as well.”

Tagged as two of most successful players in the franchise’s recent history, the 39-year-old Pingris announced his retirement from professional basketball just last month while Simon decided to end his PBA career last year.

The 41-year-old Simon was initially scheduled for a retirement ceremony last year, but plans did not push through as the surge of Covid-19 cases halted the staging of league matches.

Pingris and Simon, together with former Most Valuable Player James Yap, formed a formidable troika that served as cornerstone of the Magnolia franchise in the past decade, leading the Hotshots to eight titles, including a historic grand slam in 2014 under Tim Cone.

Victolero said holding a ceremony for Pingris and Simon would be a very ideal to honor their contributions to the team’s success in recent years.

Once this plan pushes through, Pingris and Simon are set to join an elite list of Magnolia players whose jersey numbers were retired like Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codiñera and Rey Evangelista.

“It would be a great idea to hold a ceremony for both of them. After all, they were a part of the grand slam team and it will make them very happy if (their jerseys will be retired) together,” Victolero said.

“Hopefully the league can start soon so that we can plan on that.”

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