LONGTIME Alaska team staff Tom Urbano considers himself lucky to survive a close call two weeks ago after falling ill due to complications brought on by gastro intestinal bleeding.
“Muntik na akong nadale, bumagsak na sa 40-60 (ang platelet count ko),” recalled Urbano, a former PBA referee who retired last year after serving as a team staffer of Alaska for 27 years.
The former Alaska statistician bared his ailment was caused by his habit of taking unprescribed medicines.
“Dati kasi inom lang ako ng inom ng gamot. Pag sumakit ulo ko, iinom ako ng gamot na ganito. Pag medyo nahilo, inom ulit. Masama pala yun,” he said. “Buti nga naagapan. Kasi kung napabayaan ko raw, baka talagang natuluyan ako."
Making matter worse was the accumulating hospital bills that stressed him no end, since his retirement money from Alaska has already been used to finance the repair of his house in Plaridel, Bulacan.
“Grabe, ang bigat ng loob ko nun. Kasi may sakit ka na nga, problemado ka pa sa bayarin mo sa ospital,” he said.
But then came the Good Samaritan he’s been waiting for.
“Pero alam mo ba kung sino ang hulog ng langit na tumulong sa akin? Si Commissioner Chito Salud,” Urbano bared with glee.
Prior to becoming an Alaska staff, Urbano served as league referee from 1979 to 1986, making him eligible to avail of the medical assistance provided by the PBA to former players and employees.
“Talagang problemado na kami nun sa pera. Ginawa ng anak kong babae, si Kimberly, nag-post siya sa Facebook para humingi ng tulong,” he recalled.
“Tapos nakita ni Ms. Rhose Montreal ng PBA, sinabi kay commissioner. Agad namang kumilos si Attorney Chito (Salud),” he said.
Urbano disclosed he has long known the son of the late league commissioner Rudy Salud.
“Mabait na bata 'yang si Chito. Akala mo lang masungit o suplado kasi laging nakasimangot pero mabait 'yan. Hindi sa porke’t tinulungan ako ha. Pero kilala ko 'yan nung bata pa lang,” he said.
Urbano’s daughter, Kimberly, bared her father had to undergo blood transfusion.
“Kailangan kasing linisin yung dugo niya, nagdugo yung bituka niya,” she said.
Although still undergoing medication, the bubbly former Alaska staffer bared he is now feeling much better.
On Tuesday, he is set to undergo eye surgery for his glaucoma.
“Nagpa-general check-up ako after nung nadiskubre yung sakit ko sa bituka. Nakita may tama ako sa mata. Glaucoma ba yun? Eto ooperahan ako sa Martes,” said Urbano, who’s also being assisted financially by Alaska management.
The eye operation will also be shouldered by the PBA.
League media bureau chief Willie Marcial said the assistance given by the league to Urbano is just one of the many support it is extending to cash-strapped former PBA employees.
“Tumutulong naman ang PBA kasi nakita namin na hirap din ang tao. Tulad ni Kuya Tom, nagdeliryo na at nakita namin na talagang nagmamakaawa ang pamilya (sa Facebook),” said Marcial.
Meanwhile, Kuya Tom said his previous plan to put up a fishery business in Daet, Camarines Norte has already been shelved.
“Naging sakitin ako eh. Saka natakot rin ako kasi madalas binabagyo ang Daet. Baka anurin lang daw ng dagat ang palaisdaan ko,” he said.
And what business does he intend to put up soon?
“Monkey business,” he said in his ever comical reply. “Pero papataba muna ko. Pumayat talaga ko ng todo.”