Raphael Alcoreza in action with Vancity basketball academy. (Photo: Twitter.com/vancitybball)

Surrey athlete sought to enjoy ‘life to the fullest to see what the world has in store for me’

Basketball player Raphael Alcoreza, who died last week, wanted to become a firefighter

SURREY — Raphael Alcoreza was a busy basketball player, a budding barber and volunteer with Surrey Crime Prevention Society, and he eventually wanted to pursue firefighting as a career.

“Sometime in my life,” he wrote in a recent player profile, “I would like to travel the world and enjoy my life to the fullest to see what the world has in store for me.”

The world will never know, as Alcoreza, a six-foot-one guard with the Thunder of Panorama Ridge Secondary, died in hospital last Thursday evening (Dec. 7), after collapsing during a game the previous week.

• READ MORE: Surrey basketball player remembered as a great kid with promising future, from Dec. 8 (with updates).

Born in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, Alcoreza had dreams of playing pro ball in the Philippines one day, perhaps after courting one university or another.

“I am willing to do anything it takes to get there,” the obviously determined Alcoreza said in his Thunder profile.

“I am a pass-first type of player,” he wrote. “I’m a fast-paced point guard that likes to take charge and get everyone involved. I love the contact going to the hoop and can be a threat in the post game. I’m athletic and I love to take the big clutch shots in any game situation.

“I’m confident, a team player and take great pride in competition and winning,” he added. “I place high value on individual and team defence and feel I can lock down and defend any opponent. I will not accept losing as a result, and I will do whatever it takes to get my team a winning result.”

At Alcoreza’s school on Saturday evening (Dec. 9), a candlelight vigil was held in his honour.

“We had over 1,200 (people) there,” Kevin De Boice, the principal at Panorama Ridge, said on Monday (Dec. 11).

“He’s reached a lot of people in the community, this boy,” De Boice added. “He volunteered in the community, he was just an all-around good kid, with a lot of different groups and different ways, and that’s evidenced in the calls and emails I’m getting, from outside the district, the basketball community, both in schools and (clubs), it’s been quite unprecedented in my experience.”

• SEE MORE: Photo of Alcoreza playing football with Cloverdale Cougars team in 2013.

Alcoreza, a Grade 12 student who wore jersey No. 22, was a team leader for the Thunder, and was pictured holding the ball, front and centre, in a recent team photo.

He showed no signs of poor health as the basketball season began a few weeks ago.

Suddenly, during an exhibition game at Holy Cross Regional High School on a recent Tuesday night (Nov. 28), Alcoreza complained to coaches of feeling dizzy and lightheaded. The athlete sought fresh air outside, where he collapsed due to cardiac arrest.

“They had to do CPR and called the paramedics,” Holy Cross coach Matt LeChasseur told the Now-Leader that week.

Rushed to hospital by ambulance, Alcoreza spent the next eight days at Royal Columbian Hospital before he died, surrounded by family and friends.

“When I got there (the night Alcoreza died), I would suggest there was probably 125 people in the halls, on his account, at ICU. It was just packed with people,” De Boice said the following day.

“He was the youngest, the third kid that has gone through this school,” De Boice added. “Raph was the last one, just an all-around nice kid. He was in (the) athletic community, he was in the Filipino community. There are so many communities (other than) Panorama Ridge, which is big enough on its own.”

Not surprisingly, Alcoreza’s Thunder teammates have struggled with his sudden death.

“The team, they were just back into (playing basketball) the night he passed away,” De Boice said Monday. “They made a conscious decision to get back into it, and they will be – they will continue the season, and it’s healing for them too, obviously. The family and everybody wants them to as well, and they’re moving in that direction.”

De Boice is a planner of the Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic, an annual tournament that tips off in early January.

“We’ll be doing some sort of tribute, of course, because Raph was a second-team all-star last year and he was a big part of the basketball community,” he said.

• READ MORE: Basketball boon: Surrey’s annual showcase firmly entrenched in community, from Nov. 21.

In 2016, Alcoreza was the volunteer of the year in Surrey Crime Prevention Society’s LEAP High School Work Experience Program.

“He was a great kid,” said Karen Reid-Sidhu, director of the organization. “He had such a promising future.”

At gofundme.com, a page called “Support Raphael Alcoreza’s Family” has raised $34,000 since it was created by Alumni Basketball on Dec. 5.

De Boice said a funeral for Alcoreza is being planned “probably for next week,” he told the Now-Leader on Monday.

– with files from Tom Zytaruk and Amy Reid

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP seeking help to find man missing since Nov. 7

Hyung ‘John’ Lee was last seen in the 13300-block of Old Yale Road

Pair of proposed Guildford highrises coming to public hearing Monday

City of Surrey received 229-signature petition opposing the plan

‘Stuff the Sleigh’ event aims to collect 5,000 Christmas toys for Surrey children

The Surrey Central Lions Club event will support the Surrey Christmas Bureau

Surrey kidnapping suspect still at large

Meaz Nour-Eldin is wanted in a 15-month-old Surrey kidnapping and assault case

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Paul Bissonnette joins Vancouver Warriors after tweeting he could walk on to an NLL club

Bissonnette will join the Warriors for their final week of training camp at Rogers Arena

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Body found after SUV found fully engulfed in flames in Abbotsford field

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team have been called in

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

Most Read