Florencio, Lariba among Pinoy sports icons we lost in 2018

ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 30, 2018 02:21 PM
Florencio, Lariba among Pinoy sports icons we lost in 2018
Filipino sports lost two former PBA players, two Olympians, and one iconic barker in 2018.

A number of Filipino sports personalities and icons bid farewell in 2018.

That list includes famous names like Olympian Ian Lariba and beloved coliseum barker Ronnie Manlapaz, who all left a big void.

Make no mistake, however, as their names, accomplishments, and their legacies will forever be remembered and celebrated for championing the Filipino spirit through sports.

Listed below are some of the Pinoy sports we lost in 2018.

Ian Lariba

If you list down the modern UAAP’s most dominant athletes, DLSU’s table tennis player Ian Lariba would be a definite contender.

After going undefeated in each of her five seasons, earning MVP honors in seasons 75, 77, and 78, as well as being named as the UAAP’s Athlete of the Year in 2015 and 2016, Lariba moved on to do bigger and better things in the international stage.

Lariba made history by being the first Pinoy table tennis player to qualify for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.

Nearly a year after her rousing stint in Rio, however, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in May 2017 after a series of blood tests.

After a lengthy stand that included a series of operations Yanyan, as she is fondly known, passed away September 3. She was 23.

 

Danny Florencio 

During his long and illustrious basketball career, Danny Florencio was known for being a relentless scorer starting from the mid-1960s up until his retirement in the early 1980s.

At 5’10”, Florencio played both wing positions, and found success early in his career as a player for UST. In the pros, he distinguished himself as a lethal offensive force, with a taste for exciting plays that earned him the nickname “Daredevil Danny”.

Florencio also became the first PBA player to crack the 60-point barrier, after dropping 64 points in November of 1977. He would eventually be hailed as one of the 40 Greatest Players in PBA history.

He was part of the Philippine National Team that last competed in the Olympics, back in Munich in 1972.

Last February 25, Florencio, who was then retired and was based in California, passed away after suffering from a stroke. He was 70. 

 

Rolly Manlapaz

The iconic voice that boomed throughout sports arenas during UAAP and NCAA games belonged to none other than Rolly Manlapaz.

His energetic tone and electrifying voice gave life to countless collegiate games.

After starting out as a barker for the now-defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA), Manlapaz found his success in calling the games of the next generation of rising athletes.

Manlapaz passed away September 27 after succumbing to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 58 years old. 

The athletes Manlapaz called for fondly remembered him after his farewell.

 

Joey Mente

Joey Mente will forever be remembered by PBA fans and players alike as a man who could fly.

The 5’9” guard out of Lyceum of the Philippines wowed the PBA when he won the Slam Dunk Contest back in 2001.

Proving that heart always trumps height, Mente had a respectable stint in the PBA. He played San Miguel and Welcoat (now Rain or Shine) from 2001 to 2008.

Mente passed away at age 42 last August 22 after his bout against cancer. Members of the PBA family had nothing but good words to say about the high-flyer.

Even current PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial remembered Mente as a jolt of energy, whose bright personality was infectious in and out of the court.

“Nakakalungkot kasi masayahin tao yun eh. Pag nakakasama namin sa game out of town mahilig kumanta, masayahing tao nakakalungkot sinapit niya ganung kalagayan.,” Marcial said last August.

 

Dominic Sytin

Dominic Sytin was a prominent businessman and philanthropist known as the president of United Auctioneers, a company that primarily deals with the importation of used vehicles.

What Sytin was best known for, however, especially to sports fans, was being one of the primary backers of the steadily-rising University of the Philippines' women's volleyball team. 

Last November 28, Sytin, 51, was mercilessly shot at and killed outside a Subic hotel and resort by a still unidentified gunman. 

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