Raphael Alcoreza in a photo posted to his Facebook page.

Candlelight vigil held for Surrey basketball player, who is remembered as ‘great kid’ with ‘promising future’

Panorama Ridge Secondary’s Raphael Alcoreza died in hospital Thursday night after collapsing mid-game

SURREY — A candlelight vigil was held on Saturday night at Panorama Ridge Secondary to commemorate Raphael Alcoreza. Many people lit candles and paid their respects to the basketball player who passed away at the age of 17.

Alcoreza, the Surrey basketball player who collapsed during a game last week, died in hospital on Thursday night.

Alcoreza, a Grade 12 student at Panorama Ridge Secondary, went into cardiac arrest during a game at Holy Cross Regional High School on Nov. 28.

The six-foot-one guard was rushed to hospital, not long after he told coaches he felt dizzy and lightheaded while at the bench.

• READ MORE: ‘Some encouraging signs’ for Surrey basketball player who collapsed during game

His principal, Kevin De Boice, was at Royal Columbian Hospital when Alcoreza died, at about 10 p.m. Thursday with his family by his side.

“When I got there, 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.

“He was the youngest, the third kid that has gone through this school. 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.

“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.”

Panorama Ridge Secondary school's letter to parents by Anonymous J0s16c on Scribd

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

“He was a great kid,” said Surrey Crime Prevention Director Karen Reid-Sidhu. “He had such a promising future.”

Staff and volunteers at the organization are “devastated,” she added.

Late Thursday and early Friday, several posts on Twitter responded to Alcoreza’s death.

On Tuesday (Dec. 5), a page on gofundme.com called “Support Raphael Alcoreza’s Family” was posted by Alumni Basketball, and raised nearly $14,000 in 20 hours.

“Reaching our goal for the Alcoreza family within hours shows the power our community has,” posted the unidentified administrator of the page. “We are astounded at the amount of love and support that’s being given to Raphael right now.”

The medical emergency happened during an early-season exhibition game between Alcoreza’s Thunder squad and Holy Cross Crusaders, at the latter team’s gym on 88th Avenue. The game was postponed after the incident, which happened in the first period.

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



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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