Former professional basketball player Joey Mente has reportedly succumbed to cancer last Wednesday, August 22. He was 42.
The 10th pick of the San Miguel Beermen in the 2001 PBA draft won the hearts of Pinoy hoops fans with his aerial artistry, even when he was still playing for his alum Lyceum then the MBA squad Iloilo Megavoltz.
As a pro, the 5'9" guard was crowned slamdunk champion in his rookie year, and won a couple of championships with the Beermen (2001 All-Filipino, 2005 Fiesta), before suiting up for the Welcoat Dragons (now Rain or Shine Elasto Painters) at the tail end of his career.
Earlier this year, he was diagnosed with two tumors and needed treatment. Aside from extending financial aid, the PBA community also held a benefit golf tournament, led by ex-pro Mark Telan, to help with the expenses.
Mente, who was in his native Samar when he passed away, will be remembered by colleagues and fan for his ridiculous hops and humor. Old teammates and batchmates admired his genuine love for the game.
Sports personalities were relieved that Joey didn't have to suffer from his battle with the Big C anymore.
Mente's former teams paid tribute to the ultimate showman and offered their prayers to his family in mourning.
Fans who grew up watching the PBA recognized the impact and legacy of the ball of energy that was Joey Mente.
Rest in peace, idol.