Olympian Martires passes away

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Olympian Martires passes away
Yoyong Martires.
The STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine basketball is mourning the passing of Olympian and pioneer PBA player Rosalio “Yoyong” Martires last Tuesday. He was 77.

Before making his mark as a comedian and public servant, Martires was one of the country’s elite basketball players in the 1970s and 80s.

Highlight of the 5-foot-8 guard’s stellar career was his stint in the 1972 Olympics in Munich, where the Nationals compiled three wins and six losses and wound up 13th overall in the Philippines’ last Olympic hoops campaign to date.

In 1973, Martires played for the Philippine squad that ruled the Asian Basketball Confederation Championship, forerunner of the FIBA Asia Cup.

As a pro, Martires saw action for the San Miguel-Royal Tru-Orange franchise in the MICAA and in the PBA from 1975 on. He won two PBA titles before retiring in 1984. He then shifted to acting and public service post-basketball.

“I will forever be proud of your accomplishments. Your legacy as a sportsman and as a public servant will remain an inspiration to many,” his teammate Mon Fernandez posted on Facebook. “Maayong pagpahuway (Rest well), Yong!”

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