Ulysses 'Buboy' Tanigue, former Purefoods and San Sebastian guard, dies after long illness
Buboy Tanigue died on Sunday after a battle with leukemia.

FORMER PBA player and San Sebastian star guard Ulysses 'Buboy' Tanigue passed away early Sunday due to a lingering illness. He was 43.

Players' agent Danny Espiritu, who represented Tanigue during his playing career, confirmed the sad news to SPIN.ph. The former Stags guard was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010.

Just last December, he went under the knife to remove a tumor.

Tanigue played briefly for the Purefoods franchise, which picked him in the second round at 15th overall during the 1998 PBA rookie draft that had Danny Ildefonso as the top pick overall.

But he is best remembered as the starting guard of the dreaded San Sebastian team coached by Bay Cristobal that completed a rare fivepeat in the NCAA in the nineties alongside Romel Adducul, Brixter Encarnacion, Jasper Ocampo, and Banjo Calpito.

Encarnacion and Ocampo were picked ahead of Tanigue in that 1998 draft class.

Following his stellar career with the Stags, expectations were high on the diminutive guard when he turned pro following San Sebastian’s championship sweep in 1997.

Unfortunately, 'personal problems' got in his way in his first year as pro.

“He’s a good passer and shooter and could have made the starter position if he had been more serious and focused on his career,” recalled former PBA commissioner and coach Chito Narvasa, who was at the helm of Purefoods during Tanigue’s freshman season.

“He had a naughtiness in him which made him disappear from practices and where no one would know of his whereabouts.”

Owing to a troubled career, his stint with Purefoods didn’t last long.

“Mabait na bata pero hindi lang sinuwerte,” said longtime Purefoods liason Jojo Peralta.

There’s no doubt, though, he can play ball.

“Magaling na point guard and he could have had a great PBA career kung hindi nagka-problema ng personal,” said Espiritu of Tanigue, who briefly returned to San Sebastian as part of Rodney Santos' coaching staff two years ago.

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“He had the natural talent for basketball despite his size,” Narvasa added. “He knew his spots, recognized his advantages on the floor quickly which made him very effective. When he’s with you, he’s affable, easy to catch and responded well to instructions. Magaling na bata.”

After his brief stint in the PBA, Tanigue also played for Pangasinan in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA), and later with the North Cotabato Braves – under former governor Manny Pinol - in the National Basketball Conference (NBC).

He later worked for Mayor Lito Pinol as municipal sports coordinator in Mlang town in North Cotabato, conducting several basketball clinics around the province.

Now Agriculture secretary, Manny Pinol then assigned Tanigue to the Office of Undersecretary Enrico Garzon two years ago.

His remains currently lie in state in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos