The basketball journey is not over just yet for one of the Philippines’ all-time greats as Marc Pingris is set to join the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Invitational Cup.
Head coach Charles Tiu first reported the development to Tiebreaker Times, signaling a quick end to what was a six-month retirement for the 40-year-old “Pinoy Sakuragi.”
Pingris, a 16-year PBA veteran, spent the twilight of his career battling major injuries, and last played in 2019 before walking away from the game, initially, for good.
He was best known in his heyday for being the literal and emotional driving force of a Purefoods franchise that won a coveted PBA title Grand Slam in 2014.
All in all, Pingris wrapped up his legendary PBA career as a nine-time champion, two-time Finals MVP, 15-time All-Star, and a three-time Defensive Player of the Year while being named as one of the league’s 40 Greatest Players.
The pride of Pozorrubio, Pangasinan was also one of the most integral parts of the Gilas Pilipinas national team’s rise in the 2010s, when he immortalized the team’s identity of grit and toughness with one word: “Puso.”