Tommy Ong, the amiable former deputy commissioner of the defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL), passed away Friday (Sept. 3). He was 65.
Veteran broadcaster Chino Trinidad and Hapee Toothpaste sports coordinator Bernard Yang confirmed the sad news to friends and former associates of the man who brought to the country the famous Chinese player Ma Jian in the 90s.
Ma Jian went on to play for Hapee, sparking terrific attention from various Fil-Chinese associations in the country.
“He was the best ‘league fiscalizer’ any basketball administrator could ask for,” said Trinidad who served as PBL commissioner for years with Ong as his able assistant.
Among the PBL stars he was able to touch and help through his kind and soothing words were James Yap, Mark Pingris, brothers Yancy and Ranidel de Ocampo, LA Tenorio, Larry Fonacier, Peter June Simon, and Asi Taulava.
Ong was also the TV production head of the UCBL (Universities and Colleges Basketball League) before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic cut short his stint with the fledgling collegiate league.
Ong also played a key role in the growth of some Fil-Chinese school and commercial leagues.
His remains lie in state at Sanctuarium on Araneta Avenue, Quezon City. Interment will be announced later.