BY NIDA A. BUENAFE
Oscar “Dodong” Bascon, a businessman, philanthropist, and ultimate sportsman, passed away yesterday afternoon at Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod City.
He would have turned 87 on July 30.
His son, provincial board member Ernesto Agustin “Tinto” Bascon, said his father succumbed to cancer.
With his mother, former Himamaylan Mayor Carminia Bascon, and siblings Carmela, Tom, and Marili, Tinto said they were together yesterday as his dad breathed his last.
And while they would have liked to give his father the “grand exit” that he would loved, the board member said an immediate cremation and a private funeral for the family are their only options at this time of pandemic.
“For everyone’s safety and for practical reasons, we cannot hold a wake for dad,” he said.
As passionate as he was in sports, Bascon was known for his genial personality, warm handshakes, and a welcoming smile for everyone, be it at the basketball gym, at the hotel his family once owned, or his family’s restaurant.
Born in Talisay City, Cebu, Bascon came to Bacolod in 1952 after his family ventured into the hotel business.
A true athlete who loved everything about sports, Bascon played for the Ateneo Blue Eagles from 1952 to 1957.
“Tito Dodong is a gift to the Negros sports community. We are grateful for what he did to Negros basketball. He was very fair and very passionate when it comes to sports,” provincial sports director Tony Agustin said.
As one of the founders and the perpetual president of the Negros Basketball Association (NBA), Bascon was always willing to help develop young athletes through the NBA programs, Agustin added.
“A sincere friend whom you can always count on,” businessman Vic Tan said of Bascon.
With their fellow NBA officers, Tan said Bascon made sure they gathered for their annual Christmas and New Year celebration back in Jan. 4 this year.
“I will always have fond memories of him, always encouraging and giving advice. Offering creative criticism through fatherly instruction, always smiling while doing so,” Board Member Ryan Gamboa, a former member of the Negros Slashers said.
Among those that Bascon had inspired to keep basketball thriving in Bacolod is the Fil-Sino Athletic Club.
In a message sent to the DAILY STAR, the club said that it “is greatly saddened by the loss of one of the icons of basketball not only here in the province of Negros but in the whole country as well.”
“Dodong Bascon’s contribution in the basketball community has transcended many generations and has benefited a lot of aspiring players to do well in the game.
His basketball program starting from the grassroots NBA up to the formation of the Negros Slashers in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association has brought success to some of the homegrown talents and led them to do well in the big league such as the PBA,” the Fil-Sino club said.*