'Big brother' Mick Pennisi is pushing 40, but says retirement farthest from his mind
Barako Bull veteran Mick Pennisi says he still enjoys playing basketball 'the right way.' Jerome Ascano

ANTIPOLO CITY- Veteran big man Mick Pennisi is pushing 40, but retirement is definitely farthest from his mind.

“Definitely not (retiring yet). When you get to my age, I just like to enjoy playing basketball the right way,” the 39-year-old Barako Bull shooting center told Spin.ph on Wednesday.

Playing in his 15th season, the left-handed Barako Bull gunner remains a valuable part of the Energy’s offense especially with the team pushing for a playoff spot in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup.

The 6-foot-11 Pennisi made his presence felt as he scored nine points and added seven rebounds in Barako Bull's third win in its last four games, 97-82, at the expense of Blackwater at the Ynares Center.

[See Unlucky nine as Barako Bull keep expansion team Blackwater without a win]

Other than contributing whatever he can to the team, Pennisi said he is happy just serving as ‘big brother’ to his teammates, nearly half of whom had just played three years or less in the league.

“I’m still enjoying it (playing basketball). But I always tell the boys to just play the game the right way. Everybody has his own strength and weakness, so we just need to play team basketball,” he added.

The Fil-Australian forward said his competitive nature remains strong, egging his teammates to keep fighting, especially during a tough stretch in the eliminations that saw Barako Bull open the season with five straight losses.

“It’s difficult when people expect you to perform straight away. But like any team, it takes time (to jell),” said Pennisi, whose team has undergone roster retooling for the past three seasons through several trades.

“But I just don’t want us to get used to losing, because sometimes, you get into the rut. But I’m happy for the boys because we started on defense (against Blackwater). Hopefully, we can finish it,” he added.

Pennisi is a five-time champion, having won his first three league titles with Red Bull under coach Yeng Guiao, before winning two more with the San Miguel Beer franchise.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava