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Former teammates, rivals pay tribute to beloved PJ Simon

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 09:43 PM September 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — PBA fans aren’t the only ones who will miss watching PJ Simon play.

Simon’s peers, most especially his teammates, also had a lot to say about the veteran star, who announced his retirement on Instagram Wednesday.

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“Salamat tol @pjs08 sa binigay mo na saya sa team at sa PBA! Salamat sa mga kwentuhan, champion, kulitan at samahan natin! Saludo ako sayo. mabait na kaibigan at mapag mahal sa family at sa fans! It’s time na mag enjoy ka kasama ang maganda at mabait mo na asawa! Basta kong may problema tol alam mo number ko!” said Marc Pingris in a post.

(Thank you brother for all the happiness you gave the team and the PBA. Thank you for the stories, championships and our bonding moments. I salute you. You’re a good friend and loving to your family and fans. It’s time that you enjoy with your beautiful wife. If you have a problem, you know my number.)

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Pingris and Simon, together with now Rain or Shine star James Yap, headlined the San Mig Coffee’s 2014 Grand Slam run under Tim Cone.

“💔🙏🏽 my brother…been a pleasure playing next to and learning from you everyday. All love and respect,” Magnolia guard Justin Melton said in a comment to Simon’s lengthy and emotional post.

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“One of my best teammates!!! Love you brotha!” wrote Barangay Ginebra forward Joe Devance, who won a Grand Slam with Simon and the rest of the San Mig Coffee Mixers in 2014.

Simon played 16 seasons in the PBA, all with Purefoods, a franchise he helped win eight championships.

The 40-year-old Simon is known for his scoring prowess and his ability to impact games while coming off the bench.

“One of my favorite people in the PBA. Congratulations on a great career. Such a warrior and winner on the court. And a genuine, high character individual off it,” said Jeffrey Cariaso, the former veteran turned coach who served as an assistant at Purefoods from 2011 to 2014.

A true competitor, Simon even earned the respect of his on-court rivals.

“My only batchmate left from 2001 draft. One of the nicest guy on and off the court. Pj might be a nice guy but dont let that fool you. I call this guy a quiet assasin bcuz he usually goes under the radar. He is a born winner and a true champion. Thank you for all the great battles. Bro goodluck on your next chapter 🙏🙏🙏 #2001,” said Ginebra guard Mark Caguioa.

“Congrats on a Hall of Fame career my friend! Always had my utmost respect! One of the best!” said PBA and Gilas Pilipinas legend Jimmy Alapag.

“Congrats on the retirement! Wonderful career. Enjoy life! #idolsOnly #legend,” said San Miguel Beer guard Alex Cabagnot.

Simon, the Makilala, Cotabato native, retired a certified star and he earned every bit of success he had throughout his remarkable journey.

He was drafted 43rd overall by Sta. Lucia in the 2001 PBA Draft, but he opted to play in the Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) and the Philippine Basketball League (PBL) before catching the attention of Purefoods, which offered him a contract in the PBA.

“One of the greatest stories out there. Just goes to show there are different ways to make it to the league! It was a pleasure guarding you and playing against you kuya @pjs08 ! God bless sa next chapter!” NLEX’s Kiefer Ravena posted on his IG Story.

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TAGS: Jimmy Alapag, Joe Devance, PJ Simon, Purefoods, tribute
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