pj simon
PJ Simon retired from the game after 17 seasons with the Purefoods franchise. (PBA Images)

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel veteran Mark Caguioa led a group of past and present players who paid tribute to PJ Simon following the Magnolia guard’s decision to retire after 17 PBA seasons.

Caguiao and Simon were members of the 2001 draft class, though the latter had to wait three seasons before getting a chance to fulfill his PBA dream as a member of the Purefoods franchise.

Caguioa hailed Simon for being a silent assassin through a career highlighted by eight PBA championships.

“(PJ) might be a nice guy but (don’t) let that fool you,” Caguioa said on the comments section of Simon’s retirement post on Instagram. “I call this guy a quiet (assassin because) he usually goes under the radar.

“He is a born winner and a true champion. Thank you for all the great battles. Bro (good luck) on your next chapter,” added Caguioa.

Magnolia teammate Marc Pingris opted to describe Simon as a person in a separate Instagram tribute.

“Salamat tol sa binigay mo na saya sa team at sa PBA!” Pingris said. “Salamat sa mga kwentuhan, champion, kulitan at samahan natin! Saludo ako sayo. mabait na kaibigan at mapag mahal sa family at sa fans!”

Other members of the Hotshots, namely Mark Barroca, Justin Melton and assistant coaches Jason Webb and Juno Sauler also congratulated Simon.

Also offering their well wishes were Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso and Ginebra’s Joe Devance. Cariaso was an assistant coach while Devance was Simon’s teammate when Magnolia, then-known as San Mig Super Coffee, won the grand slam in 2014.

Simon officially retired Wednesday, citing the death of his father and the difficulty returning to Manila due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He had plans to hang it up after the Philippine Cup but the season was suspended last March due to the pandemic.

There were plans by Magnolia to retire Simon’s No. 8 jersey during the conference, had it not been for the COVID-19 crisis.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/09/24/pba-vets-offer-sweet-words-for-pj-simon/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pba-vets-offer-sweet-words-for-pj-simon)