ANOTHER member of the fabled San Sebastian team of the nineties has passed away.
Reggie Santos died last Sunday when he collapsed while playing in an inter-batch basketball league game at St. Mary’s College in Bulacan.
He was 47.
His name may not ring a bell but Santos was member of three San Sebastian champion teams in the Stags' run of five straight titles in the NCAA from 1993 to 1997.
He is also the brother of former PBA player and current University of the Philippines deputy coach Rodney Santos.
Reggie was declared dead on arrival in a hospital due to cardiac arrest.
“Hindi na siya umabot na buhay sa hospital. Pero sabi ng doctor if ever maka-survive, baka gulay na din daw siya,” Rodney related to SPIN.ph.
He is the second player from that multi-titled Stags unit to pass away in a year’s time following the death of point guard Ulysses Tanigue in January of 2018.
Reggie was more of a role player for the Stags, but won three straight NCAA championships with the school from 1993-95 where he had for teammates his brother, former league MVP Rommel Adducul, Tanigue, Brixter Encarnacion, Banjo Calpito, Jasper Ocampo, Topex Robinson, Rollie Basilides, among others.
Adducul described him as a funny guy.
“Kuwela. Opposite kasi sila ni Rodney. Si Rodney tahimik, pero si Reggie makulit,” said Adducul, now a big man's coach at Blackwater. “Kapag kasama mo siya hindi ka magiging lonely, puro happy moments lang.”
Members of the batch would meet from time to time, according to Adducul, especially during birthday celebrations and alumni functions.
“Kaya nagulat nga ako nung narinig ko yung nangyari,” he said. “Nakakalungkot, pero ganyan talaga ang buhay. Pero hindi natin alam ano ang plano sa atin ni God. Nanghihinayang lang ako kasi batang-bata pa siya.”
It was Rodney who had been affected the most.
“Close na close ko talaga yan,” said the 45-year-old two-time All-Star and PBA Press Corps’ Mr Quality Minutes in 1998-99.
“Bunso ako, sinundan ko siya kaya kaming dalawa talaga ang sabay na lumaki,” he recalled as his voice began to crack.
The two tried out together at San Sebastian as walk-ins for the school’s junior team under former coach Francis Rodriguez in 1987.
“Na lineup siya agad, ako sa reserve,” said Rodney.
The two eventually ended up teammates with the Stags’ senior team of coach Arturo Valenzona and won a number of championships together.
The Santos brothers also played together with Oriental Battery team in the defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL) in what proved to be their final stint as teammates.
While Rodney pursued a career as a pro, playing for Purefoods, Alaska, Barangay Ginebra, and Coca-Cola, Reggie focused on other interests.
The younger Santos said his brother has not been complaining of problems withhis health, which all the more surprised him and his family following his sudden demise.
“Hindi lang namin alam baka sa sarili niya may nararamdaman talaga siya. Pero maski sa akin, wala rin naman siyang nababanggit,” said Rodney.
Reggie left behind his partner and a son.
His remains lie at the parish church in Meycauyan, Bulacan where the Santoses have been living for a long time. Interment is set on Sunday.