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PBA mourns death of founding commish Leo Prieto

MANILA, Philippines – The death of founding Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) commissioner Leo Prieto is a big void to fill in for Asia’s first ever pro league. PBA Commissioner Sonny Barrios said Prieto remains a guiding voice to a league he helped nurture through its infant stage to become the top sports entertainment that it is known today. “We in the PBA deeply mourned the passing away of founding commissioner Leo Prieto. His leadership and passion for the game will be surely missed," Barrios said. Prieto’s death came two days before the league celebrates its 34th season on Thursday, April 9. He died the other day due to a lingering illness. He was 88. His remains lie in state at the San Francisco chapel of the Sanctuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati after it was cremated Tuesday night. Interment is scheduled tomorrow shortly after the 10 a.m. mass. A former president of the Manila Jockey Club and an ardent football lover, Prieto served as PBA commissioner from 1975 to 1983, and under whose leadership nurtured a league from its very birth and through its challenging years. It was under his term that the fabled Crispa-Toyota rivalry had its glorious days. He was also a first ballot inductee into the first ever PBA Hall of Fame in 2005. Prieto was also known as coach of the Philippine team bannered by the great Caloy Loyzaga that placed seventh in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. He was likewise the architect of the YCO Painters’ numerous national championships against bitter nemesis Ysmael Steelers. –GMANews.TV