ANTIPOLO – Magnolia wanted badly to win its game against Converge on Sunday night.
Not only did it serve as its debut in the PBA Governors Cup, but it would have been a fitting farewell to one of its dearest family members.
The entire Hotshots squad wore black patches in their playing jersey in memory of its ever friendly utility Bot Del Rosario, who passed away the other day due to complications brought by pneumonia.
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The son of long-time utility and boxing trainer Tembong Del Rosario was only 37 years old.
“Anak ni Tembong yan kaya TemBot ang tawag ko,” said Magnolia veteran liaison officer Jojo Peralta. “Pala-kaibigan tsaka masayang, kasama parang tatay niya.”
The Hotshots ended up losing to the FiberXers, 111-109.
Among the Hotshots, Paul Lee was the one most affected as he maintained a friendship with the young Del Rosario since coming on board Magnolia in 2017.
Lee, who just came back from a family visit in the US during the season break, never got to see or talk to his friend again after Del Rosario was confined in the hospital for the second time in a week’s span.
“Hindi ko na siya nakita kaya nagulat nga kami sa nangyari,” said the Magnolia guard.
Along with import Erik McCree and Jio Jalalon, Lee tried to bring the Hotshots back from a 99-85 deficit with 6:59 left to play at the Ynares Center.
But the comeback fell short as the FiberXers eked out a 111-109 win as McCree missed a three pointer with a second left in the game.
“Masyado nang malalim yung hinabol namin,” said Lee, who finished with 21 points, five rebounds, and four assists.