COACH Aric del Rosario, as those who'd had the chance to watch and play for and even against him know, was the consummate winner.
Former UST and current NorthPort tactician Pido Jarencio on Coach Aric: "He was a good man and he's like a father to me. He was part of my success as a player."
The champion 80-year-old mentor, who reportedly died of cardiac arrest on Thursday, almost won it all anywhere he went, whether in the collegiate or professional level.
To pay our last respects, SPIN Life looks back on the greatest moments of his playing days and even more successful coaching career.
UAAP championship with UST Glowing Goldies (1964)
The Finals of Season 27, dubbed by sportswriters as "the most exhilarating UAAP conquest in the post war" (according to historian Jose Maria Escoda), starred two eventual storied mentors in Del Rosario and FEU's Danny Gavieres. The former's teammate, Ceferino dela Paz, gave UST key baskets in the deciding Game 3, the university's 12th crown, and Coach Aric's lone title as a player.
Four-peat (as coach) with UST Growling Tigers (1993-96)
Fast-forward three decades and Del Rosario was about to be at the helm of what would become arguably the best college team of the 1990s. UST's historic four straight championships were highlighted by a 14-0 sweep of Season 56 and automatic championship in 1993, which ended the university's 29-year title drought.
Those Growling Tigers teams were led by back-to-back UAAP Most Valuable Player Dennis Espino (1993-94); 1993 Mythical Five members Rey Evangelista and Patrick Fran; 1995 MVP Christopher Cantojos; and 1995 Rookie of the Year Gerard Francisco — all of whom had fairly good PBA careers.
PBA Grand Slam (as assistant coach to Tim Cone) with Alaska Aces (1996)
As an assistant coach in the pros, Coach Aric was part of Alaska's storybook run in the mid-'90s with head tactician Tim Cone. The Milkmen decimated Purefoods (4-1) in the 1996 All-Filipino Cup Finals, had more fuel in the tank than Shell (4-3) in the Commissioner's Cup, and outperformed Ginebra (4-1) in the Governors Cup.
Inaugural MBA champion with Pampanga Dragons (1998)
Even in the now-defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association, Del Rosario found a way to succeed. Under his tutelage, former PBA MVP Ato Agustin and future All-Star Gherome Ejercito steered the Dragons to the league's first national championship. Pampanga clinched the title against Negros Slashers in an 89-85 Game 5 victory that was marred by an actual scuffle between opposing fans.
SEA Games gold medal with RP Team (2003)
Before resurrecting a UPHSD Altas program (three Final Four appearances), Coach Aric had the opportunity to represent the country in the 12th edition of the biennial multi-sport event. He served as head coach to the gold-winning national team that swept all of its games at Army Sports Gymnasium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. This early version of Gilas was bannered by PBA stars James Yap and Ranidel Ocampo.