The Philippine “Sakuragi” is now signing off.
After spending 16 years in the professional league, Magnolia Hotshots’ Marc Pingris has decided to hang his jersey for good.
In a nostalgic video uploaded on his Instagram account, Pingris recalled how his dream of becoming a professional basketball player came true in 2004 as he was drafted third overall in the PBA.
But, according to him, now is the right time to embark on a new journey outside the basketball court.
“Sixteen years na din ako sa PBA pero alam ko na ngayon na din ang tamang panahon para umpisahan ang bagong chapter ng buhay ko,” he said in the caption.
The power forward, who first suited up for FedEx Express before spending the rest of his career in Asia’s pioneer pay-for-play league with San Miguel Corporation teams, went on to thank all the significant persons in his colorful PBA stint.
He first expressed gratitude to his mother and siblings before throwing a shout out to the team that drafted him in 2004.
“Thank you to Mayor MORDEN, boss JESSIE CHUA who recruited me. Thank you sa AIR21 for drafting and trusting me, thank you Boss Bert Lina,” Pingris quipped.
He also thanked some of the coaches who guided him in his playing career such as Leo Austria, Siot Tanquincen, Ryan Gregorio, Chot Reyes, Jorge Gallent, Jason Webb, and Chito Victolero.
Pingris also mentioned SMC bosses for their help and support.
“Thank you sa SMC, BOSS DANDING, BOSS RAMON ANG, BOSS ALFRANCIS, BOSS ALEJO, GOV PARDO, BOSS CAP at sa muse ng Purefoods si mam REENA. Thank you sa lahat ng BALL BOYS kay DOC RAFFY, NICK, RC, JOJO,” he said.
The former Gilas Pilipinas member also dedicated a short message to his former mentor Tim Cone, who was his coach in Purefoods’ grand slam victory in 2014, explaining that the latter made him appreciate the sport even more.
“COACH TIM, 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,” Pingris told Cone.
He also made mention of his wife, Danica, along with their two children, Mic and Caela, who stayed beside him during his years in PBA.
“To MIC & CAELA, I love you! Everything I do is for you. To my SOTTO family, I love you all! To DADDY VIC and MOMMY D, salamat sa supporta, pagmamahal at pagtanggap sakin. To Papi and Mamita, my PINGRIS fam. Thank you for your love and support,” he added.
“To my wife, Danica, thank you for your love. Thank you for all the sacrifices you made for me & our family. Thank you for staying beside me, for pushing me to work harder & never give up. I love you!”
Pingris won nine PBA titles and two PBA Finals MVPs which he received in 2006 Philippine Cup and 2018 Governor’s Cup.
He was also a 15-time PBA All-Star, an All-Star MVP, and once named as PBA Most Improved Player (2006).
As national team member, Pingris was one of the vital cogs in Philippines’ silver medal finish in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship that propelled the country to the World Cup for the first time since 1978.