Former Purefoods guard Junel Mendiola dies aged 45 | Inquirer Sports

Former Purefoods guard Junel Mendiola dies aged 45

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 05:30 PM June 17, 2020

Former PBA player Junel Mendiola. PBA PHOTO

MANiLA, Philippines — Former PBA guard and national team player Junel Mendiola died Tuesday due to a lingering illness, the league said on its website. He was 45.

Mendiola was a member of the Purefoods team, handled by Ryan Gregorio, that won the title in the 2002 Governors’ Cup.

“He (Mendiola) did not play a lot of minutes, but he was a contributor every time he stepped inside the court,” Gregorio recalled. “He was also a positive energy in our practices. He embraced his role so well.”

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The former PSBA standout, who also played for University of Santo Tomas in college, saw action for just 14 games in his only season in the PBA and averaged 1.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists.

Mendiola had recently undergone lung surgery due to cancer of the muscles and seemed to be doing just fine after being taken from the Intensive Care Unit to a regular room at Cardinal Santos Medical Center on Monday.

“I thought it was going to be okay,” said NorthPort team manager Bonnie Tan, a close friend of Mendiola during their UST days, in Filipino.

“I was shocked to receive the news because I just talked to his wife,” said PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial.

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The PBA extended financial support to Mendiola and his family by covering the hospital expenses.

Mendiola was part of the Philippine team that won the gold in the 2001 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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TAGS: Basketball, PBA, Purefoods, Sports

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