A GAME official's death cast a pall over the PBA's celebration as the league turned 44 on Tuesday.
Guillermo Tangkion died while doing what he loved most, collapsing during a referees’ workout at the JCSGO gym in Cubao shortly after the D-League games.
He was 47.
Tangkion was immediately brought to the hospital but doctors failed to revive him.
His death came as Asia’s first play-for-pay league was celebrating its 44th year anniversary on April 9.
Tangkion has been a PBA referee since 2011. He is from Malasique, Pangasinan.
Commissioner Willie Marcial expressed grief and shock upon learning the death of one of the most competent officials among the league's pool of referees.
"Sobrang gulat ko kasi fit na fit yung mga referees natin," said Marcial Wednesday. "Ang mga referees namin laging tintimbang yan. Kapag sobra ka sa timbang mo hindi ka makakapag-officiate hangga't di mo nakukuha yung tamang weight mo."
The pool of referees under technical official Eric Castro and supervisor Bong Pascual always have its workout on a weekly basis, usually either Tuesday or Thursday.
Marcial said Tangkion has a good record as a referee that seldom does he officiate during finals.
Tangkion officiated his last game in the league during the Rain or Shine versus NorthPort Philippine Cup quarterfinals series on Sunday.
A minute of silent and prayer will be offered for him just before the double knockout games between San Miguel and TnT Katropa and Barangay Ginebra against Magnolia at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.