IT was like that awkward first meeting after a sudden split.
But good thing for the Star Hotshots’ Marc Pingris, PJ Simon and their former teammate turned Rain or Shine gunner James Yap, the break-up was purely professional as the former Big Three reunited to treat their fans to a Christmas Party at The Arena in San Juan after their teams faced off on Sunday.
The former Purefoods franchise trio who led the team a 2014 grand slam wore the same shirts anew in their treat to the PSY (Pingris, Simon, Yap) fans after Star defeated Yap’s Rain or Shine, 99-91, in the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.
Pingris and Yap shared light moments before the game started, talking about their Christmas party for their fans. But while he tried to keep things professional on the court, the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart admitted that it wasn’t easy facing his old teammate and friend.
“Nag-usap kami, kumustahan, pinag-uusapan namin ang Big 3 party namin, nag-usap kami kanina pero during the game wala na, trabaho lang,” said Pingris.
“Syempre, awkward kasi 12 years kaming magkakasama,” he added.
For the first time in 12 years, Pingris and Simon will also spend Christmas apart from Yap. Star will face Ginebra at the Philippine Arena for the league’s annual tradition pitting two of the league’s most popular ballclubs for the holiday showdown. Yap will be at home with his partner Michela and son Michael James.
Still, Pingris has long accepted their fate as basketball players in the league where getting traded is part of the job and considers playing an entire career with the same set of teammates a rarity.
“Expected naman naming mga players na hindi kami permanent sa isang team eh so kung dumating ang ganoong desisyon dapat handa ka,” he said.
“Naka-move on na kami at alam kong happy na rin si James sa sitwasyon niya and then happy na rin kami na dumagdag si Paul Lee,” added Pingris.