Rest in Peace, coach
The Philippine basketball community has lost one of their most revered coaches— Januario “Aric” del Rosario. He died of cardiac arrest on March 25, Wednesday night at 80 years old.
Known to his players as “Tatay Aric”, Del Rosario was responsible for many iconic moments in basketball. Aside from guiding the Pampanga Dragons to their MBA title in 1998, he even helped Tim Cone and Alaska Milk snag a rare PBA grand slam in 1996. However, his name was immortalized among colleges when he led the University of Santo Tomas to win a four-peat victory during the UAAP season in 1993.
An Outpouring of Condolences
The sad news of Del Rosario’s death has greatly impacted the community, even in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many people expressed their sadness over social media as they mourned the loss of a legend. The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Willie Marcial paid his respects to Del Rosario, a former Alaska assistant coach, saying that “All of us in the PBA would remember coach Aric as intense in the game but a very kind person off of it.” He then adds that he’d “like to extend my deepest sympathy and condolences to his family.”
Even the PBA mourned the loss of an icon in a tweet:
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, loved ones and friends of legendary coach, Aric Del Rosario.
— PBA (@pbaconnect) March 26, 2020
On the other hand, Alab Pilipinas Jimmy Alapag extended his prayers to Del Rosario in a tweet:
Philippine basketball lost a great one… RIP Coach Aric. Thank you for all the guidance and advice as a young pro in the PBA. Will miss the big hug you’d give me every time we would see each other. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Del Rosario family…?
— Jimmy Alapag (@JAlapag3) March 26, 2020
Tim Cone, who tapped Del Rosario as his first assistant during his coaching days at Alaska expressed his frustration over not being able to pay his respects to the aggrieved family due to the quarantine. Although the news hit him hard, he fondly remembers Del Rosario’s influence, adding that the late coach helped keep him grounded, and taught him about humility.
I'm broken up because of the loss of Coach Aric. I am so sorry I can't pay my respects to him and his family. He was such an influence early in my coaching career, teaching me about humility and compassion. He touched so many lives through his journey. He will be terribly missed.
— Tim Cone (@manilacone) March 26, 2020
In addition, PBA governor Alfrancis Chua paid tribute to Del Rosario, calling him a father figure who would spend his own money to feed him and other players— as well as for their team-building sessions.
Del Rosario had an iconic career at UST, and has produced future PBA stars like Dennis Espino, Rey Evangelista and Gerard Francisco. He will always be remembered in the world of Philippine basketball.
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