Former La Salle cager Rafael Dinglasan, considered as one of the best collegiate basketball players during his time, has passed away.
Dinglasan, who led the Green Archers to back-to-back titles in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, succumbed early Monday morning after contracting COVID-19 at the age of 53.
Best remembered as the sparkplug of the team by fans, well-wishers and the alumni, Dinglasan was around when the Green Archers won their first UAAP title on their fourth season in the league in 1989 against the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.
After the squad forfeited several games due to player eligibility the following year, Dinglasan’s crew made it to the finals with a twice-to-beat edge.
They lost to the University of the East Warriors in Game 1 before taking Game 2 to claim their their second consecutive crown.
“During the olden days, La Salle vs Ateneo, our captain Rafa Dinglasan, when there was a need to spark our team, he will ignite a confrontation. After that, La Salle will win. That spirit was what we needed to beat Ateneo next year. We must not fool ourselves as the boys next door,” said a fan in one of the tribute messages coming from the De La Salle community and the alumni on Twitter.
“The alumni who started getting the crowd hyped up was Rafa Dinglasan. He was a former Green Archer. Full of Animo, too!” said another one on Twitter.
Coached by Derrick Pumaren, the team in 1989 included Jun Limpot, John Cardel, Gee Abanilla, Joey Santamaria, the late Jonas Mariano, Teddy Monasterio, Eddie Viaplana, Lincoln Lim, Arnel Guste, Dong Vergier, Jun Toral and Oliver Bunyi.
The 1990 quintet had Adi Papa, Dwight Lago, Pons Castelo and Noli Locsin.
In later years, Dinglasan played for Burger City in the Philippine Basketball League, before suiting up briefly for the Iloilo Megavoltz in the Metropolitan Basketball Association.
He became active as an assistant coach of the College of St. Benilde Blazers from 2014 to 2016.