MANILA, Philippines – Antonio Guidotti, the two-sport star who captained the Ateneo basketball team that won the 1961 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship, died on Sunday, September 1. He was 78.
Guidotti passed away due to a lingering illness, his former basketball teammate and national team member Felix Flores confirmed on Tuesday.
He lies in state at the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat until Wednesday.
Although Guidotti excelled in football where he made the 1962 Asian Games team, it was his court leadership in the rowdy NCAA basketball final against Mapua that cemented his reputation.
“He carried us. The football players in our team, which included Tony Guidotti and Tony Trillo, lasted the contest,” recalled Flores.
Ateneo defeated Mapua in a best-of-three series with the finals erupting in a short melee where Flores was trampled on in the fast few seconds of a game where the Blue Eagles were leading.
Commotion took place at the Rizal Memorial before order was restored and the Blue Eagles claimed the crown.
But Ateneo threatened to leave the NCAA. In February 1962, the NCAA decided to temporarily suspend the league to re-educate players on the value of sportsmanship. For two years, the participating squads played home-and-away games like in football before the league resumed in 1965.
Thus, Guidotti had more time to play football. A member of the Ateneo high school football team, he gained headlines as one of the scorers of the Philippine youth team that drew Japan, 4-4 ,in 1961.
“He played beside me in Yco, inside left,'' said Philippine Football Federation treasurer Johnny Romualdez, the left winger who was his teammate in the youth squad.
Being a two-sport star made him a draw among girls. “He was a campus heartthrob,'' said former Bulacan Governor Willie Villarama, who was the scorer for the 1961 Ateneo squad.
After graduation, Guidotti worked at Commercial Bank and Trust, Bancom before putting up a printing company that churned out horse racing programs. – Rappler.com