MANILA, Philippines -- Peter June Simon, a cornerstone of the Purefoods franchise for more than a decade, has announced his retirement from basketball.
On Instagram, Simon said it was the right time for him to step away from the PBA after 17 seasons -- all of which were spent with the Purefoods franchise.
"Nakakalungkot man pero ito na siguro 'yung tamang panahon para magpaalam sa liga," said Simon.
"Binigay ko yung 17 years ng buhay ko sa PBA, sa Magnolia Hotshots, at sa lahat ng fans but now it’s time to focus on my family. My wife is pregnant and gusto ko magkasama kami as we start a family," he explained.
Simon also said that he had to return home to Davao after his father fell ill and eventually passed away. He has yet to return to Manila because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Sign na rin siguro 'yun na ito na 'yung tamang time para mag-retiro," he said.
Simon initially wanted to retire at the end of the PBA's 45th season, but all league activities were halted in March due to the global health crisis. While games are set to resume in October, Simon has decided that he won't be playing when that time comes.
Unsigned after being drafted in 2001, Simon would not join the PBA until 2004 when he inked a contract with Purefoods as a free agent. He never left the team, emerging as a crucial part of the team particularly during the James Yap era.
Simon went on to help Purefoods win eight championships, including a Grand Slam in the 2014 season. He was an eight-time All-Star and established himself as one of the best Sixth Men in the league. For his high-scoring ways, he earned the moniker the "Scoring Apostle."
"Hindi ko inakalang posible pala para sa isang payat at maliit na bata mula sa Makilala, North Cotabato na makarating sa PBA. Hindi ko rin inakala na pagkatapos hindi mapansin nung 2001 PBA Rookie Draft na posible pa pala mag-iwan ng sarili kong marka sa liga," said Simon.
He expressed his gratitude to the Purefoods franchise and San Miguel Corp. head honcho Ramon S. Ang for their trust in him, and to the fans who never stopped supporting him and the team.
"Umaasa ako na na magkikita-kita tayo sa panahon na iretiro ang aking numero. This is PJ Simon, The SuperSub, Your Scoring Apostle, signing out," he said.
The team has already announced that they will retire Simon's No. 8 jersey, making him only the second player in franchise history to get the honor after their legendary captain, Alvin Patrimonio.