Basketball community mourns passing of UE head coach Bong Tan

JR Isaga

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Basketball community mourns passing of UE head coach Bong Tan
Prior to his death at just 53 years old, Bong Tan called the shots for UE alongside Lawrence Chongson, guiding the Red Warriors to a 4-10 record in Season 82

MANILA, Philippines – Business and basketball communities were collectively shocked at the untimely passing of newly-appointed Philippine Airlines president and UE Red Warriors head coach Lucio “Bong” Tan Jr on Monday, November 11.

“He was such a great boss. Very kind-hearted, very friendly and approachable. Very driven and very determined to make UE better,” said former UE coach Joe Silva. “But most of all, the advice that he gave me will forever be ingrained in me.”

He added: “But beyond being my boss, he was an even better person. Very generous, passionate about sports. Even after I left, he treated me the same way. I have nothing but respect for Boss Bong. No wonder he is loved by many.”

Prior to his death at just 53 years old, Tan called the shots for UE – the school owned by his father, tycoon Lucio Tan – with active consultant Lawrence Chongson after Silva’s resignation.

Together, they guided the Red Warriors to a 4-10 record for 7th-place finish in the UAAP Season 82, an improvement from a one-win campaign the previous year.

“As a coach he was very passionate about winning and doing things the right way,” Silva said. “He empowered his players and taught them about life as well.”

Other sports personalities also expressed their thoughts and condolences on social media.

The UAAP family also extended its sincerest sympathies to Tan’s family.

“He was an integral member of the Board of Managing Directors representing the University of the East,” the UAAP said. “Our heartfelt condolences to his family and the University of the East community.” 

While Tan’s team struggled in the collegiate ranks, he had massive success in the semi-professional level as his Stag Pale Pilseners, which later carried the name Tanduay Gold Rhum, won 7 titles in the Philippine Basketball League (PBL) from 1995 to 1998.

In 1999, Tanduay joined the Philippine Basketball Association, where it played for 3 seasons before FedEx Express took over the franchise. –

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