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Well-loved ex-UST coach passes away




ARIC del Rosario (MB file)

ARIC del Rosario (MB file)

Aric del Rosario, best remembered for steering University of Santo Tomas to four straight UAAP championships from 1993 to 1996, died on Wednesday. He was 80.

His son Lester confirmed the passing of one of well-loved basketball coaches in the country due to a cardiac arrest but gave no additional details.

Del Rosario became a folk hero at the Espana campus after the Growling Tigers won the 1993 UAAP championship by virtue of sweeping the 14-game eliminations with a roster led by future PBA stars Dennis Espino and Rey Evangelista.

The victory was UST’s first title since it shared the 1968 crown with archrival University of the East.

UST capped off its historic run by defeating La Salle in the Finals over the next three seasons, with notable players Chris Cantonjos, Estong Ballesteros, Dale Singson, Gerald Francisco and Patrick Fran.

He also coached the Pampanga Dragons to the inaugural title of the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association in 1998 while still in charge of UST at the same time. Many recalled the time when Del Rosario rode a helicopter in order to coach both teams on the same day.

With Ato Agustin playing the starring role, the Dragons defeated the John Ferriols-led Negros Slashers in five games, clinching the title before a packed crowd at the Bren Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando.

Del Rosario served as one of Tim Cone’s assistant coaches during Alaska’s PBA title runs in the 1990s, highlighted by a historic Grand Slam in 1996 and mentored the Philippine team that took the gold in the 2003 Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam.

He spent the latter years of his life serving as NCAA Commissioner and co-organized the Father Martin Cup along with former San Beda high school coach Ato Badolato.

His last coaching stint was with the University of Perpetual Help from 2012 to 2015. The Altas reached the NCAA Final Four in all four seasons under Del Rosario while current PBA star Scottie Thompson won Most Valuable Player honors in 2014.

Prior to his coaching accomplishments, Del Rosario gained prominence as a player, leading the Caloy Loyzaga-mentored UST Glowing Goldies to the 1964 UAAP title by defeating the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in the finals.