MANILA, Philippines – The PBA mourned the legendary trainer Aric del Rosario on Thursday.
Del Rosario died of cardiac arrest. He was 80.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial paid tribute to the former Alaska assistant coach and the architect of the 4-peat of the University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP in the 1990s.
"We all in the PBA would remember that coach Aric was so intense in the game, but a very nice person," said Marcial on the league's official website. "I want to express my deepest sympathy and condolences to his family."
Del Rosario was not only Tim Cone's assistant coach in Alaska in the 1990s, but also his mentor. Together, the duo led the franchise to its first title in 1991 and the Grand Slam in 1996.
However, del Rosario became immortal in college when he led the University of Santo Tomas from 1993 to 1996 with four direct titles.
Barangay Ginebra Alfrancis Chua may not have been a glowing goldie during the 4-peat run, but it was his "Tatay Aric" that brought him to UST in the 1980s.
"There were two of us, Gido Babilonia and I, who he brought from Letran to UST. He is a very passionate trainer but also a very friendly person," said Chua in Filipino. "He is like a father to us because he treated us like his own children."
“He would use his own money to buy us, players, something to eat. He would even get money out of his own pocket to pay for our team building sessions, ”added Chua.
In the early 2010s, del Rosario returned to college basketball and became head coach of the University of Perpetual Help Altas title competition.
Ginebra guard Scottie Thompson, probably Del Rosario's best player in Perpetual, poured out his heart in a long post on Instagram after being not only the coach who made him an athlete, but also the grandfather who made him a better person.
“This is one of the saddest and most shocking messages I've received in my life. Tatay, dad, daddy, lolo, trainer and mentor Aric, thank you for all the lessons you have taught me in all areas of life, ”Thompson wrote on Instagram.
"You are one of the reasons why I am in this position in life, not just one, but you are the reason why I am in my life right now. Even in the PBA, I still take your advice and that means working hard, playing well, being kind, and always praying, you'd go to places. "
Thompson added that del Rosario would always ask his players where they came from and if they had some money, and that the more sociable coach would help them immediately.
"You never made us feel like you were just a coach, you were our father because you knew we were far from our families. The moment I knew you, you became my coach in life, you taught us to be brave … you will always be in our hearts, we love you, coach! "added Thompson.
Alab Pilipinas Jimmy Alapag also extended his prayers to del Rosario.
“Filipino basketball has lost a great one. RIP Coach Aric, ”tweeted Alapag. "Thank you for all the instructions and advice [you gave me] as a young professional in the PBA. We will miss the big hug you would give me every time we saw each other. My thoughts and prayers go to the del Rosario family. "
The current head coach of Alaska, Jeffrey Cariaso, played under del Rosario in his younger years and also respected his coach.
"RIP Coach Aric. Thank you for everything, ”Cariaso posted with his Alaska alumni on Instagram.
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