If given the choice, veteran gunner Peter June Simon wants to finish his PBA career with the Star Hotshots.
While still shellshocked by the news that superstar guard James Yap, his teammate for almost 13 years, was traded to Rain or Shine on Thursday, the 36-year old shooting guard said that the thought of experiencing the same fate as Yap did not occur on him.
“Wala naman akong thought na ganun (being traded), kasi balak ko talaga dito mag-retire sa Star,” Simon told FOX Sports.
Simon reiterated that he is eyeing to join Purefoods franchise legends Alvin Patrimonio and Rey Evangelista as players who just played for one franchise up until they hang their jerseys.
“Naisip ko yun dati (ma-trade),” he related. “Pero ngayon, ang hiling ko lang naman hanggang two years tapos okay na.”
Simon and Yap were candidates to follow Patrimonio’s and Evangelista’s footsteps, before the unthinkable happened.
And just like veteran forward Marc Pingris, Simon rued the thought of a missed chance to retire together with Yap after their fruitful run where they share seven championships, including a Grand Slam season in 2014.
“Mixed emotion ako ngayon, di ko ma-elaborate kung ano yun pero hopefully it will bring out the best sa isa’t isa namin,” he said, as the Hotshots met new boy Paul Lee, and new head coach Chito Victolero.
“Di namin alam kung excited ba kami or malungkot pero syempre looking forward for the better of the team,” he added.
Simon said as a senior citizen at Star, his role now is to serve as the younger players’ “big brother”.
“Siguro yung goal (ko) ngayon, medyo ako na lang kasi yung kuya dito, more of mentoring sa mga younger guys and hopefully dito na rin ako mag-retire soon,” he stressed.
The only question is, Will the Star management heed Simon’s wish? – Jason Mercene
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH