Tommy Aguirre, 70 an inspiration to Oro cage friends-A A +A
Friday, July 20, 2012
ATENEO de Cagayan's Hall of Famer Tommy Aguirre is set to leave here today for New Jersey, USA where his family now settles down. But his friends in Cagayan de Oro who are mostly members of the legendary Plazans will always remember him as an inspiration to everyone.
For one, at 70-year-old--the 6-foot-1 Aguirre is still active playing basketball with a select group of friends even just for fun.
"He's been very special to us. You will be surprised to know who Tommy really is. You keep that thing and you will be lucky," said Farley Sheng after Tommy bade goodbye to the "American bandana" he gave to me after learning that I had the similar stuff which I wore in my head in the "glorious past."
Along with younger brother Jessie, who just like him had graduated in high school at Xavier University and proceeded to San Beda College in Manila for a senior varsity stint, the Aguirres arrived in Cagayan de Oro some weeks ago to reunite with their "high school buddies" back then who until now shared the same passion in basketball.
And Carlos "Boy" Gorospe, Mario Pabillore, Nitoy Malferrari, Boy Almirante, coach Manny Diaz, Whaley Sheng and Farley Sheng are just among the few of them.
"If not for Tommy, I wouldn't know that I can still pull off a jump shot," the 50-something Gorospe said.
Over some bottles of cold beer at Divisoria's Park Cafe, Tommy said that of all the age-old landmarks in the city, the Xavier University gym will always remain as the most memorable to him.
"As a basketball player, the XU gym, though the old structures are gone now, will always race back to my mind even when I'm not here or in the other side of the globe," Tommy shared, even citing the name "Joe Sanchez" as one of the best cagers around in the old days.
Probably avoiding some melancholic thoughts, Tommy seemed not interested in starting a topic about his other sibling--the equally jolly Garby Aguirre--who died several years ago in the US, but not after leaving a happy thought during his last visit in the City of Golden Friendship.
"Dugay na ‘to siya namatay," were Tommy's only words of Garby.
"Anyway, when I came here in 2005 and 2007 we played basketball. Now that I'll be turning 71 on Dec. 29 we still managed to run and shoot the ball. The next time that we'll see each other again we'll still play basketball. Of course, in our beloved Xavier University gym," said the always positive Tommy on Tuesday night's pizza dinner cum despedida off Randy Diaz's place after another round of friendly ball session at where the Aguirres first etched a niche in basketball during high school days.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 20, 2012.