After 16 glorious years, one of the most tenacious players to have ever stepped foot in the PBA in Marc Pingris has called it a career.
Pingris is 39 years old.
And glorious is an understatement of what the native of Pozorrubio, Pangasinan career has been.
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“I remember my name being called during the 2004 PBA Draft. Doon nagsimulang matupad ang pangarap ng isang batang palengke,” recalled Pingris, who was the third overall pick in the 2004 PBA Draft.
“Sixteen years na din ako sa PBA pero alam ko na ngayon na din ang tamamg panahon para umpisahan ang bagong chapter ng buhay ko.”
Pingris’s career started in Far Eastern University. He would later transfer to Philippine School for Business Administration.
He later played for the Cebu Gems before entering the draft. FedEx then picked him up.
After only a few games with the Express, they shipped Pingris to Purefoods. In his first three years with the franchise, he would earn the 2006 Philippine Cup Finals MVP after guiding the team to its seventh overall championship.
In a surprise trade in 2008, Pingris was sent to San Miguel (then Magnolia) for Enrico Villanueva. His stint with that team would only last for a year.
In 2009, Pingris was part of a controversial deal that sent Burger King’s Arwind Santos to the Beermen for him and Ken Bono. Burger King owner Lito Alvarez would later grant Pingris’s wish for release.
Of course, Pingris went back to Purefoods, where he would spend the rest of his career.
In his second stint with Purefoods, Pingris won seven more championships, another Finals MVP plum, and three Defensive Player of the Year citations.
“Coach Tim (Cone), it’s because of you that I grew to understand the sport as more than a game. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to become part of history with our 2014 grand slam. I am proud to have played the game we both love with you,” said Pingris.
The 6-foot-4 banger was also a mainstay in Gilas Pilipinas, helping the squad win two silvers in the FIBA Asia Cup and making an appearance in the World Cup.
“Gilas family, thank you! PBA fans, salamat sa suporta niyo. Hindi mabubuo ang PBA kung wala kayo. Mamimiss ko ang games, ang mga sigaw niyo — lalo na sa Manila Clasico,” he expressed.
Back on March 10, 2018, Pingris tore his ACL, sidelining him for a year.
He made his return on June 22, 2019 and would play in 21 more games.
Pingris missed the PBA bubble season but still worked out in hopes of a comeback. However, it was not meant to be as his physical could no longer match his mental.
“Salamat sa coaches na nag-guide sakin – coaches Boycie Zamar, Johnny Tam, Leo Austria, Siot Tanquincen, Ryan Gregorio, Chot Reyes, Jorge Gallent, Jason Webb, and Chito Victolero at sa lahat ng assistant coaches and teammates ko, thank you!,” he said.
All in all, Pingris ended with career averages of 7.9 points and 7.3 rebounds.
“It has been a glorious 16 years. Pinoy Sakuragi 15, signing off!”