Magnolia's Marc Pingris giving self until March to decide next move

Magnolia's veteran big man Marc Pingris is giving himself till the end of March to decide if it's time for him to officially retire after 16 colorful seasons in the PBA.

Pingris, 39, has played sparingly for the team since he tore his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his knee during Game 1 of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup. While he managed to return to action and play 21 games in the 2019 season, his numbers dropped dramatically as evidenced by his per-game averages of just 3.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in only 14.7 minutes of action.

With his contract expiring last December 31, Pingris admitted he's pondering his future amid the injury woes that have bugged him for the last three years.

"I'm giving myself until end of March to decide because I can't command my body to be okay. I know I'm not getting any younger plus the wear and tear I've had playing," Pingris told ESPN5 in Filipino.

The 6-foot-5 Pingris failed to help Magnolia in the PBA bubble last season in Clark, Pampanga after aggravating his right calf injury during one of the Hotshots' bach workout sessions.

At present, Pingris said he's been religiously attending his rehabilitation three times a week in an effort to fully recover from his calf, foot and ankle injuries.

Asked when he plans to open talks with Magnolia management on getting a new deal, Pingris said he's focusing first on recovering from his injuries.

"We haven't talked yet because I'm first focusing on my rehab. But I do have plans to talk to them because I also want to know what their plans are," he added.

A vital cog in the Purefoods franchise's Grand Slam championship run in the 2014 season, Pingris believes he can still contribute something to the team even though Father Time is slowly catching up on him.

However, he did admit that retirement is something that's been on his mind for the past few years.

"Any player will eventually retire from the PBA, but hopefully, before I retire, I want to be able to still help my team and mentor my (younger) teammates," he said.

Meanwhile, Magnolia team governor Rene Pardo feels Pingris is in a delicate situation at this point, given his recent history of injuries.

"I told him before that at this point in his career, he's got nothing to prove already. He has served the national team well, we won a Grand Slam, but now, we all know that his knee has taken a lot of beating already," Pardo said.

"And that's why I told him to weigh things carefully since he also has to think of his family," he added.

Pingris comes from the talent-rich 2004 PBA rookie batch where he was selected third overall by FedEx. He has since become a regular fixture for the Magnolia squad, helping the proud Purefoods franchise win a total of nine league titles.

Pingris is a 15-time PBA All-Star, an eight-time member of the All-Defensive Team and a two-time PBA Finals MVP. He was also part of the Gilas Pilipinas side that took home the silver medal in the 2013 FIBA-Asia men's tournament in Manila and later played in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Seville, Spain.