CAGE great Alvin Patrimonio has many fond memories of the late San Miguel Corp. alternate board of governor Ely Capacio, but the one that stood out the most was he served as the glue that held together a young star-studded Purefoods team right in his rookie year as a coach.
Capacio was elevated as head mentor of the Hotdogs shortly after the 1991 First Conference when the legendary Virgilio 'Baby' Dalupan resigned from the team, and Patrimonio recalled how he did well right in his first season that resulted in the franchise winning the first of five all-Filipino championships.
“Remember, star-studded 'yung team noon, andun sila Jerry (Codinera), Dindo (Pumaren), Nelson (Asaytono), tsaka si Glenn (Capacio),” recalled Patrimonio of Purefoods’ old core just before Game Five of the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup Sunday between San Mig and Rain or Shine.
“But he managed to hold the team together kahit first time niya to coach (sa PBA). Ang result nga, we won the All-Filipino championship in 91.”
Longtime San Mig liason officer Jojo Peralta said he lost "a brother and a dear friend," following the death of Capacio early Sunday morning after suffering a ruptured aneurysm.
“Parang kapatid ko na 'yan,” he said of Capacio, who was part of Ramon Fernandez’s coaching staff together with Cris Calilan when Purefoods made its PBA debut in 1988.
“Maingay yan, masayang kasama. Pero siyempre, andun pa rin 'yun respeto mo sa kanya as a San Miguel official.”
Despite being a rookie coach when he called the shots for Purefoods, Patrimonio said the young stars of the team had high respect for the former Tanduay player.
“Strict disciplinarian siya, kaya mataas ang respeto sa kanya ng team,” he said about his second coach as a pro.
The four-time league Most Valuable Player (MVP) also said it was under Capacio that his play began to mature.
“He always reminded me na kapag na-double team ako, huwag kong ipipilit, maging patient lang lagi. Laging always look for the open man,” said Patrimonio, now team manager of San Mig.
“Siyempre at the time, bata ka pa, feeling mo ang lakas-lakas mo kaya gusto mo laging puwersahin lahat. Kaya I would say doon nag start `yung maturity ko as a player.”
Patrimonio never got to play with Capacio although he remembers him as Tanduay’s counter to Ramon Fernandez, Abet Guidaben, and even Manny Victorino, having played his entire eight seasons playing only for the Rhum Masters.
“Siya lang naman kasi ang big man ng Tanduay noon e. More on defense ang rebounding lang naman siya. At tsaka long socks siya rin noon,” he said with a smile.
The San Mig official likewise mentioned Capacio advices him in corporate matters especially after he became manager of the team.
“He always tells me na hindi na ako player and management side na ako. And he also teaches me about how to prepare 'yung annual budget ng team,” said Patrimonio.
With the death of one of the men considered as the pillars of San Mig’s franchise, Patrimonio couldn’t think of any other thing to honor Capacio’s memory than to win the season’s Philippine Cup.
“We dedicate this Finals kay coach Ely, kaya we’ll try to win it,” he said.