SURREY — Inside a packed and emotion-filled gymnasium, Panorama Ridge Secondary’s boys basketball team honoured its late leader Monday night.
Prior to the “homecoming” game, a ceremony was held in the gym to honour Raphael Alcoreza, a Grade 12 student who collapsed during a game at Holy Cross Regional High School on Nov. 28. In cardiac arrest, he was rushed to hospital, where he died on Dec. 7.
• READ MORE: Candlelight vigil held for Surrey basketball player, who is remembered as ‘great kid’ with ‘promising future’, from Dec. 8.
On Monday (Jan. 8), with the Alcoreza family in attendance, school principal Kevin De Boice announced multiple scholarships in Raphael’s name.
A tribute video was played, and De Boice unveiled a special edition of a tournament program (see full progam at bottom of story), for the upcoming Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic, with Raphael’s photo on the cover.
When his parents first saw the program, Raphael’s mother immediately began to cry.
One scholarship honouring Raphael comes from Vancouver Dragons, a professional basketball club that will give $500 a year to one eligible basketball player graduating to college.
Funds for another scholarship were raised by Raphael’s school team, which sold T-shirts featuring his name and jersey number, 22. The team managed to raise $5,500.
De Boice said Raphael’s death affects the students differently because of his involvement with many local residents, including the Filipino community, firefighters, volunteer work and also the basketball community.
“He was very engaged with different communities,” De Boice said. “(His death) has a ripple effect on all those communities.”
• READ MORE: Basketball boon: Surrey’s annual showcase firmly entrenched in community, from Nov. 21.
Sunny Deol, vice-principal at Panorama Ridge, said Raphael’s death was devastating to everyone, but that his presence was felt in Monday’s game, which was won 64-57 by Princess Margaret Lions.
“His presence is felt on both teams, the emotion is there, in the crowd and on the players,” Deol said at the end of first quarter. “This game will be played on emotion, and that’s the driving factor.”
De Boice said Monday’s game was as important as any other league game, but the real factor was everything surrounding it.
“They want to honour their teammate and the family, and that’s the important factor.”
Alcoreza was the 2016 volunteer of the year in Surrey Crime Prevention’s LEAP High School Work Experience Program.
“He was one of those kids that’s liked by everybody,” De Boice told the Now-Leader in December. “He wanted to play, one day, professional basketball in the Philippines, he wanted to be a fireman. He had aspirations, and was a team leader.”