Marc Pingris has decided to come out of retirement as he banners Nueva Ecija in the 2021 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Invitational Cup in December.
Rice Vanguards head coach Charles Tiu confirmed that the former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) veteran will suit up for them in the invitational tourney that is set from 11 to 23 December at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Tiu said the 40-year banger already joined their team practice on Wednesday and is now boosting his stock for his return to the court.
“He will play for us. We’re now working on his schedule as he is going to be lined up,” Tiu told the Daily Tribune in a conversation.
Early this year, Pingris called it quits and announced his retirement from professional basketball that put an end to a very colorful 17-year PBA career.
The 6-foot-4 slotman won nine PBA titles and formed a formidable troika with James Yap and PJ Simon that won a rare grand slam in 2014 under the tutelage of then San Mig Coffee head coach Tim Cone.
Tiu said Nueva Ecija is confident that Pingris will provide the much-needed leadership and energy in their campaign.
Aside from Pingris, the Rice Vanguards are tipped to parade a strong lineup bannered by former PBA cagers Renz Palma, Ael Banal, Michael Mabulac and youngsters Chris Bitoon and Justin Gutang.
“He is one of the greats in Philippine basketball, we all know what he can bring defensively and his leadership is always there,” Tiu said.
“We think he can help our team. Hopefully, we have enough balance and enough depth to win the tournament.”