HE WAS a friend to everyone, not only to the sports community, but also to every Kagay-anon who knew him as the old-strong-jolly-fellow considered as one of the pillars of Cagayan de Oro basketball.
Basketball coach Oscar "Oca" Abucejo, 69, recently passed away around 7 p.m. Monday, September 16, in Polymedic hospital where he was confined for some weeks after his wife had noticed some complications with his speech.
Abucejo's remains are currently at Bulua Divine Shepherd, according to fellow Corpus Christi School coach Catrina June Pong-Biongcog.
An active coach and basketball trainer until his death, Abucejo was once a stroke survivor who came back strong as a full-time coach and trainer.
He was almost seen daily at the sun-bathed Pelaez Sports Center honing the skills of basketball players from Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS) after recovering from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in a private hospital where he recuperated for months.
In the first week of September, Abucejo was hospitalized again shortly after the return of the 172-man Cagayan de Oro contingent from the 2019 Batang Pinoy National Finals in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
Although he did not join the Batang Pinoy trip to Palawan, Abucejo was part of the training preparation of the Oro cagebelles that played through undefeated (8-0) in winning the team gold in high school girls basketball.
"Na-ospital si coach Oca sa Sabal. Then, nadala pa siya sa Provincial hospital (NMMC). Unya later, gi-release pauli sa ilang balay not knowing nga wala pa diay siya na-CT (computerized tomography) scan. Mura'g naay clot sa iyang brain. Kay one day, gi-estorya sa iyang wife ga-nganga na pagtubag. Maong gidala balik sa ospital," coach Pong-Biongcog told SunStar Cagayan de Oro.
It was revealed later that Abucejo had also complications with diabetic.
"Iya gyud gusto mahitabo nga champion-non namo this year ang provincial meet. Salamat sa tanan nga tudlo coach," wrote MOGCHS cager Carlos John Barol on his Facebook wall.
"Swerte kami nga among anak naka-apil pa sa iyang basketball clinic. Daghan pud among gipangayo nga pabor nga wala gyud niya balibari," shared City Sports consultant Rocky Calingin.
Sports friends who already settled in other countries were also quick to react after learning the news.
One of them is Roberto "Bobby" Jalnaiz, a retired amateur boxer from the Philippines who won the gold medal at the 1990 Asian Games in the men's bantamweight (54 kilograms) division.
"Nalooy kaayo ko kang coach Oca. Palihug ipaabot akong pasubo sa iyang pamilya," said the now US-based Jalnaiz, who represented his native country twice at the Summer Olympics in 1988 and 1992.