MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone joined the chorus of basketball personalities paying tribute to the late, great Aric del Rosario, who passed away due to cardiac arrest on Wednesday night.
While del Rosario was best known for orchestrating University of Santo Tomas' (UST) UAAP dynasty in the 1990s, he also tasted success in the PBA as part of Alaska's coaching staff.
Indeed, he was part of the team when it won the Grand Slam in 1996.
"It is crushing news to me, especially at this time when I cannot pay my respects to him and his family," said Cone, as quoted by the league website.
"He was such a steadying influence on me when I was a young coach," he added. "He always kept me grounded and taught me so much about humility."
Cone also told PBA.ph that Del Rosario was "incredibly underrated" as a coach, but his resume spoke for itself.
"The winning he accomplished at UST and the players he touched was unsurpassed," said Cone. "His humility and low-key personality prevented him from being in that conversation of the best coaches in the country."
"But that was wrong. He was incredibly underrated and certainly should have been. He was truly a great coach, and a better friend."
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial also extended his sympathies to Del Rosario's family.
"All of us in the PBA would remember Coach Aric as intense in the game, pero napakabait sa labas ng court," he said.
Former Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes, who was also part of Cone's coaching staff in his early Alaska years, also recalled his time with Del Rosario.
"We've gone through many battles as deputies of Coach Tim Cone," said Reyes on Twitter. "A true lifer. The Philippine coaching community has lost a great one."
While serving in Cone's staff, Del Rosario also called the shots for UST and steered the Growling Tigers to four straight UAAP titles. He also coached the Philippine men's basketball team to a gold medal in the 2003 Southeast Asian Games.
From 2012 to 2016, he coached the University of Perpetual Help Altas in the NCAA and led them to three Final 4 appearances.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).