Though in Japan for a family vacation, Star veteran forward Marc Pingris still felt the gravity of sadness and shock following the departure of long-time teammate James Yap from the Purefoods franchise.
On Thursday, Philippine basketball was shocked when Star traded the long-time face of the franchise to Rain or Shine in exchange for former PBA Rookie of the Year Paul Lee.
Pingris felt sorry that the veteran core of Star couldn’t ride the sunset together in one team any longer.
“Nakakalungkot dahil matagal na kami magkakasama. Isa pa, nangako kami sa isa’t isa na dito na kami hanggang mag-retire na kami pero wala kami magagawa, trabaho to eh,” Pingris told FOX Sports.
The trio of Yap, Pingris, and Peter June Simon have been the most recognizable figures in the Star franchise, helping the Hotshots reach the zenith in 2014 when the team won the Grand Slam champion.
But once Star reached the top, it apparently started to go downhill, beginning late last year when Star’s Grand Slam architect Tim Cone moved over to Barangay Ginebra.
A newbie coach n Jason Webb was thrust into spotlight, but the former Cone understudy couldn’t steer the ship right as the Hotshots tumbled to a nine-win-total in the 41st season.
Pingris said having been friends and teammate with yap, the Pangasinan native knows Yap took the trade with a heavy heart.
“Alam ko masama loob niya. Ganyan din naramdaman ko dati pero laro lang naman importante dyan,” he said.
Pingris was referring to the trade that temporarily shipped him to San Miguel in 2008, before finding his way back to the Purefoods franchise again later.
The 6-foot-5 Pingris just wished the best of luck to one of his best friends in the league as they continue to prolong their respective careers.
“Galingan nalang namin at nya. Kahit magkakahiwalay kami, important dyan iyon pag kakaibigan namin buo talaga,” he said. – Jason Mercene
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