Hats on for Caidic’s dad
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (Associated Press) - October 24, 2015 - 10:00am

PBA legend Allan Caidic’s father Edilberto was buried at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina last Friday with his four sons and daughter wearing hats that he left behind. It would’ve been a fitting tribute to the man by tipping hats off to him but in this case, it was hats on to remember the meaningful life he lived as a loving husband, caring father and doting grandfather.

Edil, as he was called, had a fondness for hats. His collection was up to six. Allan, the oldest, said the family decided to leave his favorite hat with him in the coffin and the other five were distributed to the siblings. At the end of last Friday’s Requiem Mass that preceded the burial, Allan, his brothers Ronnie, Reggie and Junior and sister Josefina wore their father’s hats. In the procession from the viewing chapel to the burial grounds, they all wore the hats.

Allan said growing up, they were closer to their mother Mercy than their father. When Mercy passed away in 2005, the siblings regrouped and gravitated towards their father. Over the last 10 years, their father stood out as the symbol of unity in the family. He was the rock and foundation that built the Caidics into a close-knit team. That was evident when his 13 grandchildren stood side by side, sobbing, choking on their words as they spoke of how they love their Lolo Edil just before the procession to the burial grounds.

Allan said his father was a skilled basketball player but never got the chance to show his wares in the big leagues. “He was a star in high school,” said Allan. “He didn’t go to college, started working early, got married and became a family man. He worked about 30 years at Customs and luckily, he had a chance to play for the Customs team in the over-40 seniors division with stars like Caloy Loyzaga and Bonnie Carbonnel. He lived his basketball dream through me. It’s also a coincidence that my grandfather on my mother’s side was a long-time executive secretary of Andres Soriano, Sr. at San Miguel Corp and his dream was for his children to work at San Miguel. Unfortunately, my father and his three siblings never worked at San Miguel but I became closely connected with San Miguel so I also lived my grandfather’s dream. I’ve played and coached for the San Miguel Group nearly my entire career and now, I’m an assistant coach at La Salle where Boss Danding (Cojuangco) is our chief patron.”

Allan said with his father’s passage, he will assume the responsibility of taking care of the family because that’s how his father wanted it. His brother Ronnie, who is married to former PBA guard Billy Abarrientos’ daughter Marga, is employed at C. F. Sharp Shipping, a company that once sponsored an amateur commercial team where Allan played. Another brother Reggie is a businessman involved in real estate and trading while a sister Josefina is an optometrist. The youngest Junior is a kagawad in Cainta.

Only two of Allan’s brothers tried their luck in basketball. Ronnie was a Team B player at UE while Junior, a lefthander like Allan, was a Team B player at UST. However, neither made it to the Team A ranks.

“My father was a strict disciplinarian but caring,” said Allan. “As he got older, he became very close to his brother-in-law Tito Nanding (Flores) who’s now 79. He’s my mother’s brother and the only surviving sibling in his family. They got so close that they even planned to stay alive until they reach 100. My father used to call him ‘tol’ instead of ‘bayaw’ because they were like brothers, especially when my mother passed away.”

Nanding was on the front row with Edil’s children beside Allan during the Requiem Mass that was celebrated by a relative Fr. Eugene Fadul. It was Fr. Fadul who consoled the family with a heart-warming homily. He said death will always be a sad thing because it’s the ultimate separation. “If you feel sad when you go abroad alone and leave your family behind or even when you go to work and leave your wife or children at home, what more when you pass on,” he said. “The consoling thought is that what you remember most about someone passing away is not his physical presence but his memory.” Fr. Eugene said it was his Tito Edil who was one of his staunchest supporters when he decided to become a priest. It was his Tito Edil who believed in him, who encouraged him and who, on his final visit to the hospital, asked for confession.

Allan said his father was confined at the Manila East Medical Center in Taytay for 18 days before passing away last Sunday morning. “For over a year, he had problems with his kidneys which were functioning only at 30 percent capacity,” said Allan. “He didn’t want dialysis. He chose to just take medication. We took him to the hospital when he got weak and doctors found that he had a heart attack. He was in the ICU for several days then we moved him to a regular room after his condition was stabilized. He was later diagnosed with pneumonia which made him weaker. In his last hours, his heartbeat was maintained by medication but he had no blood pressure reading. As a family, we decided to let him go in peace and be reunited with Nanay when the medication for his heartbeat ran out.”

Allan was ill when La Salle played UE in the UAAP two weeks ago and missed the game. His father was in the hospital and watched the action on TV. But it wasn’t for long. After a La Salle turnover – one of 30, Allan’s father croaked and showed concern in his face. One of Allan’s brothers decided to turn off the TV and spare his father from an anxiety attack. “That’s how my father was, always supporting what we’re doing,” said Allan.

During the wake that lasted from Sunday to Friday, the viewing chapel was packed with relatives, friends, fans and sympathizers. Sen. Robert Jaworski, Jerry Codiñera and the entire La Salle basketball team came to offer condolences. Some didn’t really know Allan’s father but they paid their respects anyway because they knew Allan and realized that his father had to be special for bringing up someone of his stature.

Condolences to the Caidic family and hats on to a man called Edil.

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