The “Pinoy Sakuragi,” Marc Pingris announced his retirement from basketball on Tuesday night, ending a colorful 16-year career that saw him help the Purefoods franchise complete a historic “grandslam” during the 2014 PBA season.
The 39-year old forward announced his decision to walk away from basketball on his social media pages.
“16 years na din ako sa PBA pero alam ko na ngayon na din ang tamang panahon para umpisahan ang bagong chapter ng buhay ko,” said Pingris in a lengthy post that gave thanks to people who have impacted his basketball journey that started in the humble town of Pozorrubio in Pangasinan.
“It has been a glorious 16 years,” added Pingris. The 6-foot-4 forward’s journey even brought him to Cebu where he briefly played for the Cebu Gems in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA).
Pingris would ultimately make a name for himself in the PBA with the FedEx Express picking him third overall in the 2004 PBA Draft.
“I remember my name being called during the 2004 PBA Draft. Doon nagsimulang matupad ang pangarap ng isang batang palengke,” Pingris said.
He would eventually be traded to Purefoods and promptly won the 2006 Philippine Cup Finals MVP after guiding the team to its seventh overall championship. After a brief stop at San Miguel—which was then known as the Magnolia Beverage Masters—he would make his way back to Purefoods in 2009 where he would spend the rest of his career.
Pingris’ second run with the Purefoods franchise was even more glorious as he amassed seven more championships, yet another Finals MVP award, and three Defensive Player of the Year citations. It was also during this time that he got to play for legendary head coach Tim Cone.
“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 grandslam. I am proud to have played the game we both love with you,” Pingris said.
Pingris would also be immortalized during his run with the Gilas Pilipinas, becoming the team’s undisputed heart and soul, most especially during their unforgettable run in the FIBA Asia Cup and the World Cup. Epitomizing the team’s popular battlecry “puso,” Pingris electrified fans and frustrated opponents with his energetic, effervescent style of play.
However, Pingris would eventually meet his match on March 10, 2018 when he suffered a torn ACL that sidelined him for over a year. He returned on June 22, 2019 and would play 21 games. He skipped the PBA bubble last year but was working towards a return this season. However, he later shelved that goal, instead opting to walk away from the game.
Pingris bows out of the PBA, having played in 658 games and averaging 7.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists. (JNP)