KERBY Raymundo has announced that he has officially retired, saying he has been given a clean bill of health by doctors but is unable to rekindle his passion for a sport that made him famous.
The 34-year-old underwent surgery for a troublesome knee last year and should be ready to play by next season, but admitted the itch to continue a career that made him a 10-time All-Star and a member of the PBA's 40 Greatest Players is no longer there.
“Pwede na ako maglaro sa All-Filipino eh, kaso lang ayaw ko na,” said Raymundo when reached by Spin.ph. "Wala na akong desire na bumalik."
The 6-foot-6 pride of Orion, Bataan bared he has long been contemplating retirement, but came to a final decision after watching Game Seven of the Commissioner’s Cup Finals between Rain or Shine and Talk 'N Text last month.
Raymundo said he watched the do-or-die game hoping it could rekindle his desire to play.
It did not.
“Kaya ako nanood ng Game Seven (Rain or Shine-Talk N Text Finals) kasi tinignan ko kung may fire pa ako (to play). Kaso wala na eh,” the former Purefoods and Ginebra big man admitted.
“Pinakarimdaman ko sarili ko kung may init pa ba sa puso ko ang maglaro. Tapos sa harap ng maraming fans noon tinimbang ko sarili ko at tinanong kung gusto ko pa ba,” he added. "Wala na eh."
“Sa Ginebra pa lang, nagbibiruan na kami nila boss Robert (Non) at coach Al (Chua). Sa kanila pa lang nag-apply na ko na assistant coach. Medyo doon pa lang masasabi ko na parang sinasawaan na ko maglaro, kumbaga.”
Raymundo was traded to Meralco for Jay-R Reyes in October 2013, but the agile former national player never had the chance to play for the Bolts owing to his knee injury.
The former Letran star underwent a sensitive operation in the US last year to clear bone fragments in his knee, reportedly costing in the vicinity of P4.5 million and similar to a surgery done on NBA great Grant Hill.
The pain is gone now; but so is the itch to play.
Now that he has finally decided to call it quits, Raymundo aired his gratitude to his former bosses at San Miguel Corp., which served as home for the former Letran star from 2002 to 2013.
“Nakausap ko na sila boss Robert at Mr. Ramon S. Ang, saka kila boss Butch Alejo at sir Rene Pardo, nagpasalamat talaga ako sa twelve years na naging part ako ng SMC,” said Raymundo,who won four championships with the organization. “I really spent some of my best days as a pro player sa kanila.”
“Salamat din sa mga tumulong sa career ko pati na sa Letran community. At syempre sa mga teammates ko dati at mga naging coaches. Salamat sa kanila for helping me succeed,” he added.
Raymundo also expressed gratitude to Red Bull team owner George Chua, his first boss in the PBA, agent Danny Espiritu as well his relatives and in laws in Bataan.
If there is one thing he regrets, it was Ginebra's failure to win a championship in 2013, Raymundo said.
"Up to now, hinayang na hinayang pa rin ako sa finals namin ng Ginebra nuong 2013. Close call 'yun. Na-injure lang import namin,” he said while recalling the knee injury of import Vernon Macklin that led to an easy Commissioner’s Cup conquest for Alaska.
And about his contract at Meralco, Raymundo explained he has already talked to the Bolts management.
“Nakausap na ni boss Danny, sila sir Pato Gregorio. Sila rin naman ang lugi kung lalaro ako, tapos wala na kong passion na maglaro,” he said.
For now, Raymundo said he will focus on being a full-time dad to Kevin, Gabe and Kenoa nd assistant to the small business put up by his wife Christina.
Listen to podcast of interview with Kerby Raymundo: