Former NCAA gunslinger Edgardo Gomez dies at 73
MANILA, Philippines – Edgardo Gomez, one of the deadshots in Philippine basketball in the 1960s, died on October 31 at the age of 73, his wife said.
Luchie, in a phone interview with Rappler, said Gomez could not be revived at 9 am on that day and a doctor later told them the former Yco Painter passed away.
“We didn’t know that he died in his sleep. When we woke up, he was done,” said Luchie. He was a diabetic, his wife said, and he was operated on last December to replace his pelvis after a fall.
The long-strided Gomez, who would take regular walks with his friend former national coach Nemie Villegas at Greenhills Shopping Center, had to use a cane.
The wake is at Arlington Memorial Homes until Wednesday, November 4. Cremation will be held at the same place on Thursday, November 5. On Monday night, Gomez’s former teammates led by former Olympians Elias Tolentino, Freddie Webb and Arturo Valenzona were at the wake.
Feared for his corner jumpshots from 25 feet, the 6-foot-2 Gomez was a prized pick by the Yco Painters after leading the Jose Rizal College (now Jose Rizal University) to 3 NCAA junior titles in the early1960s.
Gomez, nicknamed Egay by friends, scored 42 in one NCAA juniors game and his streaky shooting gave him the tag “Go-Go-Gomez” from broadcast icon Willie Hernandez, who was also a columnist at the defunct Evening News.
Because of his handsome, boyish looks, female fans from the NCAA to the old Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association were drawn to him. But in 1967, Luchie married Gomez.
Jun Celis, Gomez’s Yco teammate, said he was a very nice guy off the court, but on the court, Gomez hurled those thunderbolts from 25 feet mercilessly, supporting Yco’s formidable frontline of Renato Reyes and Tolentino. A knee towards the end of the 1960s slowed Gomez down but his shooting remained deadly as ever.
Gomez stayed with Yco for 10 years and even played briefly for U-Tex and San Miguel when the PBA was formed in 1975. He retired in 1978.
In the early 1970s, Gomez and the many young stars Yco had did not get along well with their coach, Carlos Loyzaga, whom they thought was too severe. It led to Loyzaga’s departure from the team he made famous as a player.
But when Gomez became coach of the Yco Shinemasters in the Philippine Basketball League, the successor of the MICAA, he imposed the same strictness on his star player, Alvin Patrimonio.
Gomez benched Patrimonio in the first half of a championship game vs RFM Swift. Gomez relented in the second half and Patrimonio delivered.
“Egay expanded the playing style of Patrimonio. He taught him how to shoot and use those fade-away shots. Alvin was grateful for those lessons,” said Luchie.
Luchie added: “It’s going to be a long evening. He had many friends. Some of his teammates came more than once.” – Rappler.com
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