There was a touching moment – especially for the Magnolia faithful – on Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Moments after the Hotshots finished off Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 63-60, in overtime of Game Seven of their 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Semifinals series, Marc Pingris and PJ Simon gave their old pal James Yap a warm hug at center court.
It has been three years since the three shared the court and battled together. A short span for some, but for this group that steered the Purefoods to a rare Grand Slam feat in 2014, it has been a very long time.
“Sabi ko sa kanya na, ‘We’re so proud of you bro. Grabe yung nilalaro mo! Bumabalik yung confidence mo, pagpatuloy mo lang.’ Kita tayo soon and ride tayo soon kako,” Pingris said on what he told Yap during that moment.
“Nami-miss ka rin namin ni PJ.”
“Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘You have nothing to prove’,” said Simon, on the other hand.
“Ininvite ko na rin siya sa wedding ko.”
Pingris expressed how glad he is that their relationship never changed, even if Yap – undoubtedly the face of the Purefoods franchise during his time there – has been shipped to another team while he and Simon stayed put.
“Kami naman tatlo. ang tagal na ng pinagsamahan namin. Kumbaga magkakapatid na rin kami, kung ano yung problema ng isa’t isa, talagang pinag-uusapan,” said Pingris, who has been with Purefoods since 2009.
“Happy naman na kahit nasa ibang team, ganun pa rin yung relationship namin. Hindi nawawala.”