James Yap penned a touching tribute to Marc Pingris, who has officially retired from the PBA.
The two-time Most Valuable Player’s post came a day after the 39-year-old announced via social media that he will hang up his basketball sneakers for good, wrapping up a career that spanned 16 seasons.
Yap also admitted that Pingris’ decision caught him by surprise. Nonetheless, he feels grateful for everything that Pingris has done for him.
“Madami dami din tayong pinagdaanan na gyera sa loob ng court, magkasama tayo sa hirap at sa saya. Sabay tayo nagsimula in 2004 kaya nagulat ako na magretire ka na,” the Rain or Shine guard wrote.
“Gusto ko na take tong opportunity na to na pasalamatan ka Marc Pingris sa lahat ng ginawa mo para sakin.”
The two played alongside each other for Welcoat in the Philippine Basketball League before entering the pros together in 2004. There, they became the 2nd and 3rd selections by Purefoods and FedEx, respectively.
They would reunite the following year and their partnership proved to be successful. They won their first PBA championship in the 2006 Philippine Cup, where Pingris bagged home the Finals MVP award.
The two then went on to lead the franchise to multiple championships, including the rare Grand Slam in 2014 with Coach Tim Cone. San Mig Coffee remains just the fourth team in league history to win the rare treble.
Their time as teammates, though, came to an end in 2016 following Yap’s move to Rain or Shine for Paul Lee in a blockbuster trade.
Still, the brotherhood they have forged never faded. And for Yap, Pingris is one of the best teammates he ever had.
“You were one of the best teammates I’ve ever had.
“Our brotherhood and friendship started with basketball pero alam ko that we go beyond that, na kahit di na tayo pareho naglalaro di magbabago ang samahan natin. Congrats sa retirement tol. See you around!” Yap ended his post, which has over 15,400 likes as of this posting.