|PJ Simon is retiring after a 19-year career spanning from his MBA days. Mike Romero (file photo)|
MANILA—PJ Simon has called it a career.
In an Instagram post on Wednesday, the Magnolia guard announced that he is retiring from basketball after a colorful 16-year career in the PBA.
"This is PJ Simon, The SuperSub, Your Scoring Apostle, signing out," Simon said at the conclusion of his social media statement.
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Hindi ko inakalang posible pala para sa isang payat at maliit na bata mula sa Makilala, North Cotabato na makarating sa PBA. Hindi ko rin inakala na pagkatapos hindi mapansin nung 2001 PBA Rookie Draft na posible pa pala mag-iwan ng sarili kong marka sa liga. Nakakalungkot man pero ito na siguro yung tamang panahon para magpaalam sa liga. Kinailangan kong umuwi ng Davao nung nagkasakit at namatay ang father ko at nahirapan na rin akong makabalik dahil sa pandemya. Sign na rin siguro yun na ito na yung tamang time para magretiro. Binigay ko yung 17 years ng buhay ko sa PBA, sa Magnolia Hotshots, at sa lahat ng fans but now it’s time to focus on my family. My wife is pregnant and gusto ko magkasama kami as we start a family. Sobra-sobra ang mga biyayang natanggap ko sa buhay ko especially sa aking PBA career at pinapasalamatan ko ng buong puso ang Panginoon. Naging sandalan ko ang Diyos sa bawat desisyon na aking tinatahak at pinapalangin ko na lagi akong gabayan ng Panginoon sa aking paglalakbay. Nagpapasalamat din ako kay Boss RSA na nagbigay ng oportunidad sa akin sa larangan ng basketball at negosyo, sa lahat ng naging coach at naging teammates ko sa loob ng 17 years sa paglalaro ko sa liga, sa mga support staff and management side, sa buong PBA, sa Magnolia franchise, at sa lahat ng fans na walang sawang sumuporta sa akin. Umaasa ako na magkikita-kita tayo sa panahon na iretiro ang aking numero. This is PJ Simon, The SuperSub, Your Scoring Apostle, signing out.
On why he is hanging up his basketball gear, the 40-year-old Simon said, "It’s time to focus on my family. My wife is pregnant and gusto ko magkasama kami as we start a family."
Simon flew to Davao to attend to his sick father, who eventually passed away, during the quarantine period, but due to the COVID-19 situation up north, he could not return to Luzon.
"Sign na rin siguro yun na ito na yung tamang time para magretiro," he further said.
Simon played with the Purefoods franchise all throughout his PBA career, although he was actually a fifth round pick by Sta. Lucia in the 2001 draft.
After the Realtors opted not to sign him, Simon, a native of Makilala, North Cotabato, joined the Davao Eagles in the last two seasons of the MBA.
Following the league's tragic folding, Simon quickly found his way back to club basketball after PBL powerhouse Hapee took him in.
Simon developed a rivalry of sorts with James Yap during their PBL days, but that quickly turned into a 1-2 punch for the Hotshots when they acquired both players in 2004.
Behind Simon, Yap, and later Marc Pingris, Magnolia became a force to reckon with during the late 2000's and the early 2010's, winning seven championships together including the 2014 "grand slam".
Although Yap would be traded to Rain Or Shine for Paul Lee, the Hotshots still got to win a chip, beating the Alaska Aces in the 2018 Governors' Cup Finals.
Simon was also an eight-time All-Star, winning the Most Valuable Player award in the 2008 All-Star Game.
He also made the mythical selection in 2014, making the second team.
Simon still got to play for Magnolia in the only game played so far this PBA season prior to its postponement, a 78-94 loss to San Miguel on March 8.
In what would be his swan song, he put up four points in 11 and a half minutes of play.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_