By Jonas Terrado
Former players and colleagues expressed gratitude to legendary coach Aric del Rosario, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 80 due to cardiac arrest.
Ex-Purefoods cager Rey Evangelista and PBA champion coach Siot Tanquingcen, members of University of Santo Tomas’ 1993 UAAP championship team that went unbeaten, were among those who paid tribute to the beloved coach fondly called “Tatay Aric.”
“Thank you Coach for everything,” Evangelista said on a Facebook photo of him and Del Rosario during last year’s Return of the Legends event at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“You are a very big part of the success of my basketball and professional career. I never thought that this picture will be our last. I will miss you. Rest in Peace Coach,” added Evangelista.
Tangquincen, who also played for Del Rosario with the Pampanga Dragons in the Metropolitan Basketball Association, produced a lengthy post on Facebook honored the veteran mentor for his humility, dedication and how he treated everyone around him with love.
“Truly its amazing how God has used you Tatay Aric to impact so many lives,” Tanquingcen said. “All of us are better not because you told us to do this or to do that, but because you showed us in the way you lived your life. And that is how we as young men at that time learn best by seeing you live by example rather than being told what to do or not to do.
“A coach that inspired us and instilled in us a desire to better ourselves cause you showed us the way by the way you lived. Rest in Peace Coach Aric and in behalf of us all, thank you,” added the three-time PBA champion coach.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel coach Tim Cone said Del Rosario’s passing is “crushing news to me,” given that he can’t pay respect to his former assistant given the country’s current situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Del Rosario was one of Cone’s assistant when Alaska won numerous championships in the 90’s, including the Grand Slam in 1996.
“He was such a steadying influence on me when I was a young coach,” said Cone. “He always kept me grounded and taught me so much about humility. The winning he accomplished at UST and the players he touched was unsurpassed.
“His humility and low-key personality prevented him from being in that conversation of the best coaches of the country,” added Cone. “That was wrong; he was incredibly underrated and certainly should have been. He was a truly a great coach and a better friend.”
A heartbroken Scottie Thompson shared on his Instagram account a lesson he learned from Del Rosario during his time as coach of University of Perpetual Help.
It was also during Del Rosario’s tenure that the current Ginebra standout won NCAA Most Valuable Player honors in 2014.
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Isa sa pinaka malungkot at nakakagulat na balita na natanggap ko buong buhay ko!😭💔 TATAY, PAPA , DADDY , LOLO , COACH AT MENTOR ARIC. Maraming maraming salamat sa lahat ng tinuro mo sakin sa lahat ng ginawa mo sa buhay ko. Ikaw isa sa dahilan kung saan ako ngayon at kung anong meron ako ngayon, hindi lang pala isa sa naging dahilan kundi ikaw naging dahilan! Hanggang sa PBA dala dala ko padin ang laging mong sinasabi mo samin. Magsipag ka lang, maglaro ng maayos magpakabait at laging madasalin may papupuntahan ka bata at higit sa lahat tanggapin anong meron ka ngayon. Kung gusto mo ng higit? Pagtrabahuan mo! Dahil sa mga linyang yan andito ako ngayon. Ang pinaka d ko makakalimutan na laging mong tanong sa mga player mo na galing probinsya ay yung may pera kpa ba? Laging sinasagot ng player wala na po coach sarili mong pera na galing sa bulsa mo yung binibigay mo sakanila. Yung tipong pinaparamdam mo hndi lang basta coach pinaramdam mo din samin na parang tatay ka namin kasi alam mo malalayo kamibsa pamilya namin. Coach A. Simula nung nakilala kita naging coach kita lahat ng pananaw ko sa buhay nag-iba. Lahat ng mga duda ko sa sarili ko kung kakayanin ko ba o hndi nag-iba. Lahat ng pagsubok na dumaan sa buhay ko hanggang ngayon hindi na ako nagduda sa sarili ko. Kasi tinuruan mo akong maging palaban at kayanin lahat. Sa lahat ng mga mura at suntok mo saaming mga player mo ramdam namin kung gaano mo kami gusto e push pa sa kakayanan namin. Haaayyyys😭💔 Ang mas nakakalungkot pa lalo is yung panu ka po kaya namin madalaw dahil sa mga nangyayari ngayon. Panu po kaya namin madamayan ang pamilya mo coach☹️ i pray na sana makagawa kami ng paraan para makasama ka namin coach at ang pamily mo. Again thank you for everything coach Aric!! You will be missed! And you will be always in our hearts! We Love you coach!!
“Maraming maraming salamat sa lahat ng tinuro mo sakin sa lahat ng ginawa mo sa buhay ko,” Thompson said. “Ikaw isa sa dahilan kung saan ako ngayon at kung anong meron ako ngayon, hindi lang pala isa sa naging dahilan kundi ikaw naging dahilan!
“Hanggang sa PBA, dala-dala ko padin ang laging mong sinasabi mo samin. Magsipag ka lang, maglaro ng maayos, magpakabait at laging madasalin may pupuntahan ka bata at higit sa lahat tanggapin anong meron ka ngayon. Kung gusto mo ng higit? Pagtrabahuan mo! Dahil sa mga linyang yan andito ako ngayon,” he added.