PETER June Simon feels this year is the right time to retire for Magnolia to give way to a wave of younger guards who are eager to take the Hotshots to the next level.
Simon, 39, is set to end a career that spanned for 17 seasons at the end of the Philippine Cup. He was drafted in the fifth round by Sta. Lucia in 2001, but was left unsigned before being acquired by the Purefoods franchise three years later.
Much as he wants to extend his career, Simon said he knows it is the right time to walk away from the game.
“Nakakalungkot dahil parang feeling ko, gusto ko pa, kaya ko pa. Pero sa tingin ko, eto na ‘yung time,” said Simon. “Marami kaming guards. Ang gagaling nilang lahat. Kaya ko rin naisip na ito na ‘yung time nila.”
Simon said he is already preparing himself for life after basketball, and will try to consult peers who have already retired.
“Para magkaroon naman ako ng time, makapahinga naman,” said Simon. “Mahirap kasi iwanan kasi sobrang mahal mo ‘yung basketball. First love ko talaga ang basketball. ‘Yun ang routine ko everyday.
"Nagtatanong-tanong din ako sa mga nauna sa akin para magkaroon ako ng idea.”
Simon said he is flattered by the decision of Magnolia management to retire his jersey number, following in the footsteps of Alvin Patrimonio (16), Jerry Codiñera (44), and Rey Evangelista (7).
An official jersey retirement will be held on May 10 during the rivalry match between Magnolia and Barangay Ginebra.
“Kung matuloy, sobrang thankful ako sa management at franchise ng Purefoods. Natutuwa ako na naisip nila ‘yung ginawa nila kay Alvin,” said Simon.
But more than anything else, he wants to crown his Purefoods career with another championship.
Precisely the reason he chose to retire at the end of the Philippine Cup.
“Sana makakuha ng championship uli. Twice kami nag-finals ng all-Filipino. Kaya ito ang pinili ko mag-retire na conference kasi alam ko may chance eh," he said. "Alam ko may chance na magfinals uli. Sana makaabot kami doon."