Pingris on PBA what ifs: Fajardo as teammate, Guiao as coach | Inquirer Sports

Pingris on PBA what ifs: Fajardo as teammate, Guiao as coach

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 07:41 PM May 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Marc Pingris has certainly left an indelible legacy in the PBA after playing for 16 seasons and amassing nine titles along the way to become one of the league’s best power forwards.


He’s played with players and learned under coaches who will undeniably enter in the pantheon of legends after they retire but Pingris said there are still some people whom he would’ve wanted to share a franchise with.

It’s not a disservice to the greats that he’s played with, but dreaming of playing with equally intense Calvin Abueva is just one of those scenarios that played out in his head one time or another.


Of course, sharing the same frontcourt with close friend June Mar Fajardo was also something he wished for.

“There’s one player I could’ve been teammates with, and that was Calvin Abueva. I played with him in Gilas but never in the PBA,” said Pingris in Filipino. “When we’re together, you know that we’ll fight side by side no matter what. We’re like a pair of bad boys who’ll tell each other ‘we can fight them, let’s do it.’”

Pingris and Abueva could’ve been teammates after the latter was traded to Magnolia at the end of the 2020 season but the former ultimately retired just when the PBA resumed practices heading into the 2021 competition.

“June Mar, of course, I wanted to be teammates with him. There’s also [Robert] Bolick and Kiefer Ravena,” said Pingris.

As for coaches, Pingris said he would’ve loved playing for Yeng Guiao.

Pingris said he’s always been drawn to Guiao’s personality despite winning three of his titles against him, including his first one during the 2006 Philippine Cup.

“I wanted to be coached by coach Yeng, it’s funny because I’ve faced him in the finals several times,” said Pingris.


Teammates turned brothers

Marc Pingris PJ Simon

Marc Pingris and PJ Simon. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Pingris, though, played with a bunch of PBA greats some of whom were his teammates for the majority of his career while the others for just a glimpse.

The 6-foot-5 power forward listed Purefoods teammates James Yap, PJ Simon, and Kerby Raymundo as just some of his favorites.

“I have more, I can’t just trim it down to five because the other guys might get upset,” said Pingris.

The foursome played nearly a decade with each other under the Purefoods franchise winning two titles together and have been lifelong friends

Pingris even sought the advice of Raymundo and Simon before he announced his retirement.

Despite being known as one of the best players of the Purefoods franchise, Pingris spent one season with sister team San Miguel from 2008 to 2009 and it was there that he learned under the tutelage of two-time MVP Danny Ildefonso.

“I was happy when I got to San Miguel because Kuya Danny was there,” said Pingris. “He became my mentor and he was the one who helped my business sense. His first lesson to me was that I should learn how to save and I took that to heart.”

“That’s how much of a brother he is to me.”

The first one and the big one

Marc Pingris

FILE — Marc Pingris.

Pingris was also one of the most successful players of his era winning nine titles from 2006 to 2018 but of all those championships there were a couple that stand out above the rest.

He said that his first championship in 2006 was his favorite PBA moment, next to the time that he was drafted in 2004, especially since it was what really kickstarted his phenomenal career.

“My favorite PBA moment will always be the time my name was called in the draft, I was so happy because I never expected to be picked number three,” said Pingris. “Next of course is my first championship with coach Ryan Gregorio.”

Purefoods faced Guiao’s Red Bull in the 2006 Philippine Cup with the then Chunkee Giants ending the series in six games with Pingris being named Finals MVP.

Then there’s the completion of the 2014 Grand Slam under head coach Tim Cone.

That San Mig Coffee team, which also won the 2013 Governors’ Cup before winning the trifecta, was the first squad to win the Grand Slam since the 1996 Alaska Milkmen and is still the only group to complete the feat in the 21st century.

“Of course there’s the Grand Slam because winning the Grand Slam is the hardest thing to do in the PBA,” said Pingris.


WATCH: Marc Pingris looks back on his memorable PBA career

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TAGS: Calvin Abueva, James Yap, June Mar Fajardo, Magnolia Hotshots, Marc Pingris
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