MANILA, Philippines -- In a move that caught many fans by surprise, Ranidel de Ocampo announced his retirement from basketball on Monday night.
The big man decided to hang up his shoes after enduring several injuries in the last couple of seasons with the Meralco Bolts.
"Lagi akong nai-injury, kaya siguro eto na 'yung time para magpahinga sa basketball," he said on the 2OT podcast.
PBA players were quick to pay tribute to De Ocampo, a six-time champion with the TNT franchise who also served as a core player for Gilas Pilipinas for many years.
On Instagram, Larry Fonacier wrote that De Ocampo was "hands down the best stretch 4 I've ever played with."
"What a privilege it was to learn from you every day, and to see you win the greatest games for our team," he added.
Chris Tiu, who retired in January 2019, said he was proud to have played with and against De Ocampo.
"Always loved how you played the game, ang iyong pagkatapang at pagkakalmado, kakaibang talino at skill para sa big man. Pero higit sa lahat, hanga ako sa iyong simplicity, humility pati na rin pagka-komedyante off the court," he said.
On Twitter, San Miguel's Chris Ross wished him a happy retirement.
Rain or Shine's Gabe Norwood recalled the time he shared with De Ocampo, as both players were key members of the Philippine national team.
"An honor to share the court with you," Norwood said. "Thank you for the battles, the talks, and the memories. One of the most skilled players I've ever come across."
Ali Peek also lauded De Ocampo as "one of the best I've ever played with" and congratulated him on an "awesome career." "It was an honor playing with you and winning championship trophies," he also said.
Joe Devance of Ginebra gave De Ocampo the ultimate compliment, saying: "You were my toughest opponent, and it's an honor to have battled against you. Enjoy the rest of your life with your family, it's much deserved."
De Ocampo was the fourth overall pick in 2004 by FedEx, and rose to stardom as a player for TNT where he spent the bulk of his career.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).