MANILA, Philippines -- The Magnolia Hotshots are giving Marc Pingris all the time he needs to come to a decision about his PBA career, coach Chito Victolero said recently.
Pingris has dealt with several injuries in the past few years, notably an ACL tear in the 2018 PBA All-Filipino Cup. While he was able to suit up for a few games in 2019, Pingris sat out the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup in the league's bubble in Clark, Pampanga.
At the time, he was reportedly dealing with injuries to his calf and ankle.
In January, ESPN5 reported that Pingris was contemplating retirement, after 16 seasons in the PBA. Victolero said in an appearance on "The Chasedown" that they are patiently waiting for the veteran power forward to make his decision.
"Si Ping, always naman 'yung communication namin. Ngayon, very busy siya sa injury niya, nagre-rehab siya. Ang naging usapan namin is by March siguro, meron na tayong update para kay Ping," he said.
Victolero explained that Pingris first wanted to see how his body would respond to the rehab process. "Titingnan niya kung hanggang saan 'yung kaya niya," the coach said.
"Ayaw ko din namang madaliin dahil meron din siyang programa na sinusundan," he added.
For now, Pingris is not joining the Hotshots in their small group practices. His last contract with the team expired in December 2020.
Victolero stressed that they will respect whatever decision Pingris makes, as the coach pointed out that Pingris has made great contributions not just to the Purefoods franchise but to Philippine basketball as well through the Gilas Pilipinas program.
"I don't want to mauna kung ano man 'yung sasabihin ni Ping. I just want to respect 'yung tao dahil grabe naman ang contribution niya not only to Purefoods franchise but sa entire basketball community dito sa Pilipinas," he said.
"And 'yung respect na kailangan natin ibigay sa kanya, 'yun ang sinasabi natin. Sabi ko lang sa kanya, whatever yung kanyang maging desisyon, maging kumbaga 'yung desisyon ng management, respetuhin natin 'yun," he added.
"So 'yun lang, iniintay ko din siya."
If Pingris ends up playing this season, Victolero said it will be a massive boost to newly-acquired forward Calvin Abueva. The Hotshots had traded for "The Beast" last week, sending combo guard Chris Banchero to Phoenix Super LPG in exchange.
Having Pingris around will ease Abueva's adjustment to the team, said Victolero.
"Tingin ko, maganda lang na mabubulungan pa siya ni Kuya Marc niya, masabi 'yung culture namin, masabi 'yung kung anong meron kami sa Purefoods, anong meron, ano ba 'yung mga tinatakbo namin dito," he said.
"So malaking bagay pa rin 'yung guidance ni Ping kay Calvin, lalo na ngayon na bago siya dito sa team namin."
Pingris won nine championships with the Purefoods franchise, including a Grand Slam. He is a two-time Finals MVP and a 15-time All-Star.