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Family first: PJ Simon retires from PBA after 17 years

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 03:08 PM September 23, 2020
PJ Simon

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Peter June Simon has announced his retirement from basketball after 17 years in the PBA.

Citing family reasons, Simon felt it was the perfect time for him to hang up his sneakers after a remarkable career that saw him win eight championships all with the Purefoods franchise.

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“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,” wrote Simon in an emotional post on Instagram on Wednesday.

(I never thought it was possible for a skinny, little kid from Makilala, North Cotabato to make the PBA. I also never thought that after getting overlooked in the 2001 PBA Rookie Draft that it’s still possible to leave my own mark in the league.)

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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. Nakakalungkot man pero ito na siguro yung tamang panahon para magpaalam sa liga. Kinailangan kong umuwi ng Davao nung nagkasakit at namatay ang father ko at nahirapan na rin akong makabalik dahil sa pandemya. Sign na rin siguro yun na ito na yung tamang time para magretiro. 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. Sobra-sobra ang mga biyayang natanggap ko sa buhay ko especially sa aking PBA career at pinapasalamatan ko ng buong puso ang Panginoon. Naging sandalan ko ang Diyos sa bawat desisyon na aking tinatahak at pinapalangin ko na lagi akong gabayan ng Panginoon sa aking paglalakbay. Nagpapasalamat din ako kay Boss RSA na nagbigay ng oportunidad sa akin sa larangan ng basketball at negosyo, sa lahat ng naging coach at naging teammates ko sa loob ng 17 years sa paglalaro ko sa liga, sa mga support staff and management side, sa buong PBA, sa Magnolia franchise, at sa lahat ng fans na walang sawang sumuporta sa akin. Umaasa ako na magkikita-kita tayo sa panahon na iretiro ang aking numero. This is PJ Simon, The SuperSub, Your Scoring Apostle, signing out.

A post shared by Peter June Simon (@pjs08) on

“Nakakalungkot man pero ito na siguro yung tamang panahon para magpaalam sa liga,” added Simon, who was drafted 43rd overall by Sta. Lucia and became an integral part of Purefoods’ Grand Slam team in 2014.

(It’s sad but I guess this is the right time to bid the league farewell.)

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The 40-year-old Simon, who was a superstar in his own right as he thrived in providing serious scoring punch while coming off the bench, said the death of his father amid the pandemic was also a factor in his decision to call it quits.

“Kinailangan kong umuwi ng Davao nung nagkasakit at namatay ang father ko at nahirapan na rin akong makabalik dahil sa pandemya. Sign na rin siguro yun na ito na yung tamang time para magretiro.”

(I needed to go back to Davao when my father got sick and died and I struggled to return because of the pandemic. I guess that’s also a sign that it’s the time for me to retire.)

Family is everything and finally having his own also contributed to Simon’s decision.

“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,” said Simon, who married beauty queen Jehza Huelar in June of last year.

(I gave 17 years of my life to the PBA, the Magnolia Hotshots, and to the fans but now it’s time to focus on my family. My wife is pregnant and I want us to be together as we start a family.)

The eight-time All-Star said he is grateful for his journey from being an afterthought to a superstar and PBA champion.

“Sobra-sobra ang mga biyayang natanggap ko sa buhay ko especially sa aking PBA career at pinapasalamatan ko ng buong puso ang Panginoon.”

(I’m overwhelmed with the blessings that I’ve received especially in my PBA career and I thank God with all my heart.)

“Naging sandalan ko ang Diyos sa bawat desisyon na aking tinatahak at pinapalangin ko na lagi akong gabayan ng Panginoon sa aking paglalakbay.”

(I turned to God for every decision I make and I pray to God to always guide me in my journey.)

‘Nagpapasalamat din ako kay Boss RSA na nagbigay ng oportunidad sa akin sa larangan ng basketball at negosyo, sa lahat ng naging coach at naging teammates ko sa loob ng 17 years sa paglalaro ko sa liga, sa mga support staff and management side, sa buong PBA, sa Magnolia franchise, at sa lahat ng fans na walang sawang sumuporta sa akin.”

(I would also like to thank Boss Ramon S. Ang who gave me the opportunity in basketball and business and to all my coaches and teammates throughout the 17 years of playing in the PBA, to the support staff and management side, the entire PBA, the Magnolia franchise and to all the fans who never got tired of supporting me.)

Simon, though, will certainly be back again on the court for a special ceremony.

“Umaasa ako na magkikita-kita tayo sa panahon na iretiro ang aking numero.”

(I’m hoping to see all of you again when the time comes that my jersey will be retired.)

“This is PJ Simon, The SuperSub, Your Scoring Apostle, signing out.”

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TAGS: Basketball, Magnolia Hotshots, PBA, PJ Simon, Purefoods, Retirement
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