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Fil-Can basketball star dies after collapsing during game

Raphael Alcoreza, a Grade 12 all-star high school basketball player from Surrey, has died, a week after going into cardiac arrest during a game.

More than 125 friends, teammates, teachers, coaches and community members packed the halls and waiting rooms of the Royal Columbian Hospital ICU unit in New Westminster the evening of December 21 as Acoreza was taken off life support.

“The outpouring was huge last night when we knew death was imminent,” said Kevin De Boice, the principal at Ecole Panorama Ridge. “Raff was so well loved. He wasn’t just a jock.”

The six-foot-one guard was rushed to hospital, not long after he told coaches he felt dizzy and lightheaded. He said that needed some air and headed outside the gym, where he collapsed.

Coaches, Alcoreza’s parents and two brothers all rushed to him as they waited for first responders to arrive. He was rushed to Surrey Memorial in cardiac arrest and was later taken to Royal Columbian.

De Boice,said doctors found that Alcoreza had had a heart issue since birth.

He was one of those kids that’s liked by everybody. 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.

Aside from basketball, Alcoreza was also the 2016 volunteer of the year in Surrey Crime Prevention’s LEAP High School Work Experience Program.

The BC Boys Basketball Association’s statement for Alcoreza’s passing  reads: “The British Columbia Boys Basketball Association (BCHSBBA) is extremely saddened by the news of the passing of Raphael Alcoreza. On behalf of the B.C. boys basketball community we offer our deepest condolences to his family, teammates, and friends.” Messages of condolences are being posted online, including one from the Holy Cross Athletic Department.

A candlelight vigil was held in the evening of December 9 at Panorama Ridge Secondary to commemorate Alcoreza. Many people lit candles and paid their respects to the basketball player.

Alcoreza is the youngest of the 3 brothers and his parents are Nelson and Marie. They are parishioners of St. Bernadette Parish.

A GoFundMe page was set up for Alcoreza and his family to raise money for his recovery but the organizer of that page has now confirmed he has passed away. The campaign has already raised more than $25,000 in only two days and donations are still being made through the website.