PUERTO PRINCESA - Displaying not just showmanship but compassion, participants in the 2016 PBA-All Stars said they will donate majority of their prize money to the family of the late league technical director Ramil Cruz.
Asi Taulava, the team captain of the South team, led the move of the players to donate majority of the P100,000 they won in the dance-off to the family of Cruz, who died of a heart attack in his hotel room on Sunday morning.
The team paid their choreographer Eugene Carlos P5,000 then decided to give the remaining amount to the survivors of the well-loved PBA official, who also served as coach of the University of the Philippines Maroons.
"I told my teammates we don't need the money, Ramil's family needs it the most now. They are grieving and his kids are still young," said Taulava shortly after receiving the cash prize from PBA commissioner Chito Salud and NickelAsia vice president for corporate affairs JB Baylon.
"We hope that this will signal a start of support for Ramil's family, he's been nice to all of us," added the 42-year-old NLEX star, who had Cruz as a regular breakfast companion in the run-up to the All-Star Game.
"It's not about the money, it's about the people you meet along the way, people like Ramil is hard to find. It's just a small gesture for a lost friend."
Meanwhile, the North team, which took home P100,000 for winning the entertaining game, 166-161, at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum, said it will also donate a part of the winnings to the family of Cruz.
"Nagbigay din kami. Napag-usapan ng teammates ko. Mamaya namin iaabot sa dinner," said North star forward Marc Pingris.
Baylon also told Spin.ph that organizing Rio Tuba Nickel Mining and Coral Bay Nickel Corporations will also hand over financial support to the family of Cruz, who is survived by wife Millet and their four kids.