MANILA, Philippines – Officials of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) paid tribute to the late former PBA chairman Eliezer “Ely” Capacio, who passed away Sunday morning at the age of 58 due to a ruptured aneurysm.
“(Ely) will be missed,” PBA Commissioner Chito Salud said on Sunday. “You have touched and enriched our lives as a great basketball player, a champion coach, a top corporate executive and a dynamic former chairman of the PBA Board of Governors.”
Current PBA chairman Mon Segismundo called Capacio his “idol.”
“Being with him in the PBA Board for three years was a real blessing. He always fought for what was right, and not necessarily the political or most convenient route,” Segismundo told PBA.ph.
“Loyalty to the PBA and the sport he loved best trumped narrow organizational lines. He is the type of sports executive our basketball nation needs,” Segismundo added. “We will badly miss him.”
San Miguel Corp.'s head of basketball operations Robert Non said Capacio’s legacy in the PBA is “unmatched.”
“Ely, I would say, is the most complete and successful pro player in the whole of the PBA,” Non said. “He is a guy who anybody can relate to easily. He is very passionate in what he does, and you can say he is a man of vision.”
Capacio was serving as the vice chairman of the PBA Board, representing the Petron Blaze organization, at the time of his death.
After his playing career, he became an assistant coach, won a title as a head coach with Purefoods in 1991, then became a team governor and eventually served as the chairman of the PBA Board in the 2005-2006 season.
He was supposed to again take up the post of chairman next season, succeeding Segismundo.