MANILA, Philippines – Marc Pingris has certainly left an indelible legacy in the PBA after playing for 16 seasons and amassing nine titles along the way to becoming one of the league’s top forwards.
He has played with players and learned from coaches who will undeniably enter the Hall of Legends upon retirement, but Pingris said there were still people he would have wanted to share a franchise with.
It’s not a disservice to the greats he’s played with, but to dream of playing with Calvin Abueva just as intense is just one of those storylines that have played out in his head at one point or another.
Of course, sharing the same frontcourt with his close friend June Mar Fajardo was also something he wished for.
“There is one player I could have been a teammate with, and that was Calvin Abueva. I played with him in Gilas but never in PBA, ”Pingris said in Filipino. “When we’re together you know we’ll fight side by side no matter what. We’re like a pair of bad boys who are like ‘we can fight them, let’s do it.’ “
Pingris and Abueva could have been teammates after the latter was traded to Magnolia at the end of the 2020 season, but the former ultimately retired just as the PBA resumed training ahead of the 2021 competition.
“June March, of course, I wanted to be a teammate with him. There is also [Robert] Bolick and Kiefer Ravena, ”Pingris said.
As for the coaches, Pingris said he would have loved to play for Yeng Guiao.
Pingris said he had always been drawn to Guiao’s personality despite winning three of his titles against him, including his first in the 2006 Philippine Cup.
“I wanted to be coached by Coach Yeng, it’s funny because I have faced him in the final several times,” said Pingris.
Teammates become brothers
Pingris, however, played with a group of PBA greats, some of whom were his teammates for most of his career, while the rest were just a glimpse.
The 6-foot-5 forward has listed his Purefoods teammates James Yap, PJ Simon and Kerby Raymundo as his favorites.
“I’ve got more, I can’t just reduce it to five because the other guys might get mad,” Pingris said.
The quartet has performed for nearly a decade with each other under the Purefoods franchise winning two titles together and are longtime friends.
Pingris even sought advice from Raymundo and Simon before announcing his retirement.
Despite being known as one of the best players in the Purefoods franchise, Pingris spent a season with sister team San Miguel from 2008 to 2009 and it was there that he learned under the tutelage of the two-time MVP. Danny Ildefonso.
“I was happy when I got to San Miguel because Kuya Danny was there,” Pingris said. “He became my mentor and it was he who helped my business acumen. Her first lesson for me was that I had to learn to save and I took that to heart.
“That’s how much of a brother he is to me.”
The first and the big
Pingris was also one of the most successful players of his time, winning nine titles from 2006 to 2018, but among all those championships there were a few that stood out above the rest.
He said his debut championship in 2006 was his favorite PBA moment, alongside when he was drafted in 2004, especially since that was what really kicked off his phenomenal career.
“My favorite PBA moment will always be the moment my name was called in the draft, I was so happy because I didn’t expect to be picked number three,” Pingris said. “The next step is of course my first championship with coach Ryan Gregorio.”
Purefoods faced Guiao’s Red Bull in the 2006 Philippine Cup, the then Chunkee Giants ending the streak in six games, with Pingris being named MVP of the final.
Then there’s the completion of the 2014 Grand Slam under the leadership of head coach Tim Cone.
This San Mig Coffee team, which also won the Governors’ Cup 2013 before taking the winning trifecta, were the first team to win the Grand Slam since the Alaskan Milkmens in 1996 and are still the only group to have won the Grand Slam. achieved the feat in the 21st century.
“Of course there is the Grand Slam because winning the Grand Slam is the hardest thing to do in the PBA,” Pingris said.
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