Former deputy commissioner Tommy Ong of the now-defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL) passed away at the age of 65 last Friday, September 3rd.
The news was confirmed by veteran broadcaster Chino Trinidad and Hapee Toothpaste sports coordinator Bernard Yang.
“He was the best league fiscalizer any basketball administrator could ask for,” said Trinidad, who worked alongside Ong for several years with the latter as his assistant.
During his time in the PBL, Ong notably brought Chinese professional basketball player Ma Jian into the PBL as an import during the 1990s. Ma then went on to play for Hapee Toothpaste to surging popularity, sparking attention from several Filipino-Chinese associations from all over the country.
In addition to his PBL work, not only was Ong known for playing a key role in popularizing the sport among Filipino-Chinese schools and commercial basketball leagues, but he was also able to touch and influence a generation of PBA players, including James Yap, Asi Taulava, LA Tenorio, Marc Pingris, and more.
Ong also served as the TV production head of the Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had cut his stint with the collegiate league short.
Ong’s remains were last stated to lie at Sanctuarium on Araneta Avenue, Quezon City. Interment will be announced later.