By ADRIAN STEWART CO
Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots is giving tribute to their long-time players Jean Marc Pingris and Peter June Simon on Christmas Day at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
According to Hotshots board governor Rene Pardo, the franchise will be retiring Pingris’ #15 and Simon’s #8 in a simple ceremony during the halftime of Magnolia-Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings match.
“Hinintay lang namin na may fans na,” Pardo said in a recent interview with PBA Rush. “That’s a tribute by the management on their valuable contributions to the team.”
Both Pingris and Simon were long-time members of the franchise with the former winning eight of his nine titles with Magnolia and the latter capturing all of his eight PBA titles as a Hotshot.
Pingris started his PBA career in 2004 when he was selected third overall by the FedEx Express. He then went on to have his stops with Purefoods (now Magnolia), San Miguel Beermen before returning to the Hotshots.
Pingris had his success in his second stint with the Hotshots franchise under its then head coach Earl Timothy Cone, where he became part of Grandslam team in the 2013-2014 PBA Season.
Coinciding with his PBA career, Pingris also had a memorable stint with the Gilas Pilipinas and became part of the national team that played in the 2012 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
Simon, meanwhile, began his PBA career with the Magnolia franchise in 2004 as a free agent after being lowly selected and not signed by the Sta. Lucia Realtors in 2001.
Simon was also an eight-time All-Star, who won the MVP honor in the 2008 All-Star game in Bacolod City, and was named to the Second Mythical Team in 2014. He also ruled the Three-Point shootout event of the 2019 All-Star weekend.
Pingris called it a career prior to the start of the 2021 PBA season, while Simon decided to hang his sneakers after playing a game with Magnolia during the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup./ASC, WDJ