Aric del Rosario
Del Rosario passes, leaves behind lasting legacy
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - March 27, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A pall of gloom descended on Philippine basketball as it lost one of the most revered coaches – Aric del Rosario.

Del Rosario, the affable mentor who masterminded University of Santo Tomas’ UAAP four-peat touched off by a 14-0 sweep in 1993, died of cardiac arrest Wednesday night. He was 80.

“Tatay Aric” to his players, Del Rosario left behind a lasting legacy.

Aside from his golden feat at UST, Del Rosario helped Tim Cone and Alaska Milk snare a rare PBA grand slam in 1996, and latter steered the Pampanga Dragons to the MBA title in 1998, and the Philippine five to the Southeast Asian Games championship in 2003.

The sad news of Del Rosario’s death hit a Pinoy hoops community that, like every sector of the society, is at a standstill in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is crushing news to me, especially at this time when I cannot pay my respects to him and his family,” said Cone, who tapped Del Rosario as his first assistant when he took the reins at Alaska.

Currently the winningest in the PBA, Cone fondly remembers the influence Del Rosario had on him.

“He was such a steadying influence on me when I was a young coach.  He always kept me grounded and taught me so much about humility,” he said.

“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, that was wrong; he was incredibly underrated and certainly should have been. He was truly a great coach and a better friend,” he added.

Cone said winning the 1996 grandslam while Del Rosario was winning his UAAP championship at UST was the best memory he had of their time together.

PBA governor Alfrancis Chua also paid tribute to the man who recruited him to play for UST in the early 80s.

“He’s a passionate coach na napakabait na tao,” said Chua. “Parang tatay namin ‘yan dahil parang anak niya kami ituring. Imagine, ginagastos niya ang sarili niyang pera para pakainin kaming mga players. Gumagastos din ng sariling pera yan para sa team-building sessions namin.”

Del Rosario had an iconic collegiate career at UST and produced future PBA stars in the likes of Dennis Espino, Rey Evangelista and Gerard Francisco.

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