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

VIDEO: Nature provides practice space for North Delta musician

Terry Lee has become a fixture over the years playing his cornet in and near the Delta Nature Reserve

Surrey Mountie won’t face charges for scooter scuffle

The Surrey-based IIO has decided not to forward the case to Crown counsel for review

High-risk sex offender released into Surrey

Earon Wayne Giles, a Newton “tag-team rapist,” was released from prison Friday and is now living in Surrey

Pedestrian seriously injured in Surrey traffic crash

A 54-year-old man was hit by a car early Thursday evening while crossing Highway 10 at 152nd Street

BC Hydro replacing hundreds of old power poles in Surrey

More than 10 per cent of BC Hydro poles are at least 50 years old

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Burnaby facility to dispose of 1,500 tonnes of Canada’s trash from Philippines

All 103 containers will be disposed of properly within Canada before the end of the summer

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Man wants guilty plea revoked in 2012 collision in Abbotsford that killed Chilliwack woman

Michael Larocque was charged in relation to crash that killed Eileen Kleinfelder

North Delta happenings: week of May 23

Events and community listings for North Delta

Vancouver woman sexually assaulted after man follows her home; suspect at large

Police are looking for an Asian man in his 40s after the incident on Vancouver’s east side.

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

UPDATE: Vancouver man dies after crash between motorcycle, transport truck

Police believe speed was a factor in Thursday collision

Trial slated to start Monday for accused killer of Abbotsford cop

Oscar Arfmann faces first-degree murder for death of Const. John Davidson

Most Read