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    Former ref and longtime Alaska staff Tom Urbano dies aged 80

    Jul 11, 2022
    Tom Urbano

    FORMER referee Tom Urbano, who was well-loved around the PBA as a longtime staffer of the Alaska franchise, passed away on Monday.

    He was 80.

    His daughter said the former Mapua Cardinal turned international referee died of respiratory failure due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

    The death of one of the well-loved personalities in the pro league was posted on the Alaska Aces Twitter account as prayers were asked for the repose of his soul.

    "May the Lord grant comfort to those who grieve him," added the post accompanied by a praying emoji and the hashtags #UrbanoLegend #MangTom.

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    Tall, lanky and prominent for his huge pair of ears, Urbano initially served as an international referee from 1979 to 1986 before hooking up with the then incoming Alaska franchise.

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    He served as the Aces' in-house referee, statistician, and do-it-all staff for 27 years before retiring for good in 2013 due to health issues.

    [See Long-time Alaska staff Tom Urbano retires after 27 years with Aces]

    Urbano was part of all the 14 championships the Alaska Aces won in the league including the grand slam in 1996.

    He was once honored by the PBA Press Corps among the rare loyal team personnel who served their respective ballclubs for a long time along with Jojo Peralta of Purefoods, and Raffy Hanopol of San Miguel, among others.

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      Always flashing his charismatic smile, Urbano became synonymous with the Alaska franchise during his entire stay with the team.

      "Tommy is what I called him and was very special to me. He was a father figure that always reminded me to take extra care wherever I went," said former Alaska coach and now Converge mentor Jeff Cariaso.

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      "He referred to me as 'my son.' And that meant a lot to me.'

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      Former Alaska official CK Kanapi said Mang Tom also treated her like a daughter.

      "He was the first personnel sa team who welcomed me in the Alaska Head Office, being the only girl in the team, he protected me as if I was his daugther," Kanapi, now an official of Converge, said.

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