PBA legend Terry Saldaña dies at 65

PBA legend Antero "Terry" Saldaña passed away on Wednesday, Feb.1, due to a lingering illness.

He was 65.

Terry Saldana (Photo from Terry Saldaña's Facebook)

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial confirmed the sad news after talking to Saldana’s former teammate Ed Cordero.

The PBA is set to honor Saldana with a traditional final buzzer before the start of the match between Phoenix and NorthPort on Thursday, Feb. 2, at the PhilSports Arena.

Saldaña started his career in 1982 when he proved his worth in his first team with Toyota where he won the first two of his six PBA championships throughout his stint that also saw him make pit stops with Swift, Ginebra, Alaska and Red Bull.

Tribute immediately poured after the news of his passing broke with Ginebra head coach Tim Cone remembering the very first Most Improved Player awardee as a tough inside operator after recovering from a gruesome knee injury especially during his stint with Ginebra and under then playing coach Sonny Jaworski.

“So sorry to hear about Terry Saldaña's passing. I remember him well in those Ginebra and Swift days. He was so hard to stop around the basket, and I'll remember him for coming back from his gruesome injury. It took a lot of character to do that. NSD, Terry,” tweeted Cone.

Saldaña also played in the reunion game between Toyota and Crispa in 2003 where he was adjudged as Most Valuable Player with 15 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks. He last played the role as assistant in the PBA D-League for the Wangs team before stepping away from the limelight.

In 2021 during the pandemic, news about his declining health broke out after a photo posted on Facebook showed the then 63-year-old Saldaña in a wheelchair with both his legs in terrible shape and was battling diabetes and kidney ailment.

Long friends and former teammates extended their support for Saldaña during that time.