PJ Simon has all the reason to be thankful despite seeing Star’s PBA season come to a disappointing end on Friday with a 108-97 loss to Rain or Shine in the Governors’ Cup.
Lost in the Hotshots’ miserable campaign is the veteran shooting guard flaunting vintage form late in the conference, coming in averaging 17.3 points in his last four games.
And in the Hotshots’ last game of the season, Simon once again emerged as the top-scoring local with 15 points in just 22 minutes against the E-Painters.
“Mindset lang na thankful pa rin dahil nakakapaglaro pa rin ako, healthy pa rin ako, and until this time, nakakapaglaro pa rin ako ng first love ko,” the 36-year-old cager said.
“I’m the second oldest sa team, pero gusto ko ipakita sa kanila na I will never give up until the end,” added Simon, second oldest on the squad next to 39-year-old skipper Rafi Reavis. “Yun lang naman yung message eh: Masaya pa rin ako na naibigay ko yung best ko and masaya pa din ako even in defeat.”
The Hotshots, as a unit, carried the same mindset even after getting eliminated for the first time in five years with still two games to go in the tournament.
“The most important thing was we stayed positive and stayed professional even if the past few games non-bearing na siya, pero talagang lumalaban kami,” the 5-foot-11 guard said. “Yun naman yung lesson eh. Naging positive kami kahit napakahirap maging positive.”
And despite facing an offseason of uncertainty, nothing will change in his approach to the game next season.
“For me, hangga’t kaya ko pang maglaro, every game, I will enjoy and I will always give my best kasi sobrang swerte ko na at this age, nakakapaglaro pa rin ako,” said the 12-year veteran, who worked his way up after being left unsigned as the 43rd overall in the 2001 Draft.
“Hindi na siguro masyadong maraming games pa yung natitira ko, but I will make sure na every game, ibibigay ko lahat ng makakaya ko until mag-retire ako,” he added.