MANILA, Philippines – PBA star guard Scottie Thompson paid tribute to Aric del Rosario, saying the late great basketball coach is one of the biggest reasons behind his success in the professional ranks.
Del Rosario, who coached Thompson for the Perpetual Altas in the NCAA, died from cardiac arrest on Thursday, March 26, at 80.
"This is one of the saddest and most shocking news I've ever received in my life," Thompson wrote in Filipino on Instagram.
"Up to the PBA, I've brought with me all the lessons you told us – work hard, play well, be good, always pray, and most importantly, accept everything you have. You want something greater? Work hard for it."
Under the tutelage of Del Rosario, Thompson developed into one of the best collegiate players in the country.
Thompson won the Most Improved Player in 2012, captured the Most Valuable Player in 2014, and ended his collegiate career with 3 First Mythical Team selections.
He was nabbed the No. 5 overall pick by Barangay Ginebra in 2015 and helped the franchise clinch 4 PBA titles. (READ: Tim Cone crushed by Aric del Rosario death: 'He always kept me grounded')
"When you started coaching me, my perspective in life changed," Thompson said. "For all the challenges I've faced in my life, I never doubted myself because you taught me to be a fighter and to endure everything."
"For all the expletives and punches you threw at us players, we felt how you were eager to push us that we can do it."
The Ginebra standaout said not only was Del Rosario unselfish with his basketball knowledge, he was also generous when it came to providing the financial needs of his players.
Thompson can attest to that.
View this post on Instagram 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. HaaayyyysAng 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!! A post shared by Scottie Thompson (@scot_thompson6) on Mar 26, 2020 at 1:59am PDT
"I will never forget how you asked players from the province if they still have money. They will say they don't and you gave them your own money," said Thompson, a Padada, Davao del Sur native.
"You made all of us feel that you're not just a coach but also a father because you knew we're all away from our own families."
With Luzon placed on enhanced community quarantine, Thompson said he hopes to find a way to mourn with the Del Rosario family and pay respect to the beloved tactician for one last time.
Before joining Perpetual in 2012, Del Rosario already cemented his legacy as one of the country's all-time best collegiate coaches when he steered the UST Tigers – whom he mentored for over a decade – to 4 straight UAAP championships from 1993-1996.
Although the Altas failed to cop an NCAA title under his watch, Del Rosario led the Altas to 3 Final Four appearances.
"Thank you for everything coach Aric! You will be missed! And you will be always in our hearts! We love you coach!" – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.