Lucio “Bong” Tan Jr., president of PAL Holdings and son of business tycoon Lucio Tan, passed away on Monday at the age of 53.
His sister Vivienne Tan confirmed the passing on Monday of Tan Jr., who assumed the top position in PAL Holdings recently. Tan was rushed to a hospital on Saturday after he collapsed during a basketball game in Mandaluyong City,
“His untimely passing leaves a big void in our hearts and our Group’s management team which would be very hard to fill,” she said in a statement on Monday.
“Bong was a son, husband, father, friend and, most importantly, our elder brother whom we all relied on for advice, counsel and leadership,” added Vivienne, also a member of the board of flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL).
Aside from his stint in PAL Holdings, Tan Jr. also held executive p ositions in Tanduay Distillers Inc., Eton Properties Philippines, Fortune Tobacco Corp., Allied Bankers Insurance Corp., LT Group and Philippine National Bank, among others, according to Cielo Villaluna, PAL spokesman.
He also secured director seats in MacroAsia Corp., Victorias Milling Co. Inc., PMFTC Inc., Lucky Travel Corp., Air Philippines Corp., Absolut Distillers Inc., Asia Brewery Inc., Foremost Farms Inc., Himmel Industries Inc., Progressive Farms Inc., The Charter House Inc., Grandspan Development Corp. and Shareholdings Inc.
The sad news about Tan Jr.’s passing came two days after tycoon John Gokongwei Jr. died at the age of 93.
Known for being a solid basketball follower since his glorious days in the Tanduay era at the defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL), Tan Jr. stayed as a true lover of the sport.
His Batangas Tanduay Athletics team was one of the 10 original members of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) that was formed in 2018 under founder Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao.
He was very proud to add the first-ever MPBL crown to one of his many basketball title collections after winning the inaugural championship in April 2018 over the Muntinlupa City Cagers in three games of their best-of-five title series.
Tan Jr.’s iconic Stag basketball squad in 1995, led by the 6-foot-9-inch Marlou Aquino and Bal David under former head coach Alfrancis Chua, won a rare grand slam in the PBL — the 1995 Reinforced Conference, 1995 All-Filipino Cup and 1995-1996 Danny Floro Cup.
He renamed his team Tanduay Gold Rhum, which won the 1997 Makati Mayor’s Cup, 1997-1998 All Filipino Cup and the 1998 Centennial Cup before deciding to enter the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in 1999.
His team was an absolute title contender, which included Eric Menk, Mark Telan, Chris Cantojos, Bobby Jose, Jorge Gallent, Jason Webb, Pido Jarencio, Jomer Rubi and 1999 top overall pick Earl Sonny Alvarado.
He left the PBA in 2002 after he sold Tanduay to the AIR21 Express franchise of Bert Lina.
Although Tan Jr. left the country’s biggest and popular professional basketball league, he still participated in the PBA Developmental League under teams Boracay Rum Waves and Tanduay Light Rhum Masters from 2012 to 2017.
He was also an avid golfer as he hosted the fifth edition of the Tanduay’s “Chairman Kap” for the company’s 165 years in the business last April 5 at the Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong City.
He collapsed in the second quarter of Pinoyliga Cup Finals last Saturday at the Gatorade Hoops in Mandaluyong City, where he was playing for Philippine Airlines.
He suffered a brain herniation, according to several reports.
Prior to his death, the newly appointed PAL Holdings president became the head coach of the University of the East Red Warriors in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines in Season 82 men’s basketball tournament.
Malacañang has expressed its deep condolences to the family of Tan Jr.
“The Office of the President expresses its deep condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the
Tan family, especially to Mr. Lucio Tan, his wife and his children, on the untimely demise of Mr. Bong Tan at the age of 53,” Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo described Tan as a “humble person, with a serious mien, but with a ready smile to whomsoever he met in social events and official functions.”
“He never threw his weight around and always ready to lend his hand to anyone who approached him for assistance. He was a good friend, a kind-hearted brother to his siblings, a loving and dutiful son to his parents and an efficient and competent corporate man,” he said.
With a reports from JOSEF T. RAMOS AND CATHERINE S. VALENTE