SAM Ekwe, San Beda’s Nigerian big man who changed the game in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament by paving the way for the foreign student-athletes to play in the Philippine college hoops, was in shock after the sudden passing of American center Sudan Daniel.
Both Ekwe and Daniel were instrumental in the Red Lions’ dynastic rule in the NCAA which started in 2006.
“This is confusing to me Su. Just when you think you have heard enough bad news this year. 2020 has just confirmed that it’s a very bad year. RIP Su,” Ekwe posted on his Facebook account Saturday night.
A member of the Red Lions team that captured a historic 18-0 season sweep in 2010, Daniel, who is also the voice of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 league, passed away Saturday.
He was 33.
Daniel, who was celebrating the Yuletide season with his former teammates and close friends, twin brothers David and Anthony Semerad in Calatagan, Batangas, suffered an asthma attack.
“I was just with him. I am still in shock. I was with him in the morning then the next day he’s gone,” said David, trying to fight back tears.
“We wanted to spend Christmas together,” he added.
Taking over the spot left by Ekwe in the middle, Daniel played for two seasons with San Beda.
In his first year, San Beda was swept by San Sebastian in the 2009 Finals, ending the Mendiola-based squad’s three-year reign. Daniel, the season’s top rookie, had a forgettable outing in the Lions’ 61-76 Game 2 loss to the Stags, scoring only four points in 24 minutes of action.
Atoning himself from that humbling championship setback to Calvin Abueva-led San Sebastian, Daniel rebounded the following year by posting 10.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.4 blocks to bag the NCAA season MVP trophy as San Beda went undefeated in the eliminations.
Daniel, who was also the season’s Best Defensive Player, elevated his game in the league’s biggest stage by averaging 19.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and three blocks to become the Finals MVP as the Lions avenged their defeat to the Stags.
The 6-foot-7 Daniel suffered an ACL injury prior to the start of the 2011 season, but San Beda still ruled the tournament.
After getting a Marketing Management degree in San Beda, Daniel, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, became an executive in basketball concept company Titan and later became the master of ceremony for Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 together with Mike Swift.
Daniel was last seen in the now-pro 3×3 league’s bubble at the INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna last October.Publication Source : People's Tonight