Jun 23, 2020

PJ Simon sees Magnolia not lacking in 'Super Subs'

AS retirement beckons for Peter June Simon, the Purefoods franchise won't be lacking in players of the same mold as him.

The moment he became teammate with Justin Melton, it's as if Simon was looking at himself in the mirror.

Simon, 40, could relate more on the Fil-Am guard, who has long served as part of the second unit of the team, so much so that he considered Melton as among his favorite teammates.

"Sobrang fave ko yung bata na yun. Nagpapasalamat ako na na-share ko kung paano maging pasensiyoso, na kahit galing off the bench ka, as long na nagkaroon ka ng impact sa game," said Simon during an episode of the 20T podcast of PBA anchors Carlo Pamintuan and Magoo Marjon.
Simon obviously saw a piece of himself with Melton.

Signed by Purefoods as a free agent in 2004, the University of Mindanao alum had to work his way up the ladder of the team's rotation.
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But even coming off the bench, Simon remained productive that he was twice named Mr. Quality Minutes by the PBA Press Corps during its Annual Awards Night and eventually earned the moniker 'Super-Sub.'

He later became a part time starter and formed Purefoods' deadly trio of Yap and Pingris under former coach Tim Cone during the time the team won four straight PBA championships, highlighted by a grand slam in 2014.

Humble and soft-spoken, Simon tried to impart to Melton the experience he went through just as his 17-year career is now on its tail-end.

"There are times na sinasabi ko sa kanya na kahit ilang minutes ka lang maglaro, basta laging maging game changer siya dahil sa depensa at athleticism niya," he said of the Fil-Am guard.

Seeing Melton as the one likely to follow his path, Simon regards another Magnolia guard as possible to succeed the 33-year-old former Slam Dunk co-champion.
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"Si Jio Jalalon isa sa mga nakikita ko. Nagko-compliment talaga yung game niya sa mga bigs namin at scorer," he said. "Magaling sa depensa at pumasa. In between, meron din siyang opensa.

For sure malaki ang maitutulong niya sa team."