MANILA – Former Iloilo Megavoltz standout Joey Mente passed away on Wednesday months after he was diagnosed with two tumors, one on the head and another on the chest. He was 42.
After the discovery of his tumors, Mente had undergone surgery early this year and went through radiation treatment before going through chemotherapy.
Joseph Uichico, Mente’s first PBA mentor with San Miguel Beermen, was saddened by the passing of the former Lyceum Pirates guard, who he described as a “jolly person” on and off the court.
“After the operation I haven’t talked to him na. Nagte-text lang ako but it’s his sister who’s replying. Siyempre you can’t expect din naman na si Joey ang mag-reply,” Uichico said. “Masayahing tao si Joey.”
Mente had his best years as a professional player when he was with the Megavoltz in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association from 1998 to 2000. In 1999 he represented the country as part of the Megavoltz in the William Jones Cup in Taiwan.
But his national team stint was a forgetful one after getting involved in an on-court brawl with the Chinese-Taipei squad along with teammates Vince Hizon, Dominic Uy and Francis Aquino.
In 2001 Mente was drafted in the first round by Beermen and has stayed with the team until 2005. In 2006 he moved to Welcoat Dragons (now Rain or Shine Elasto Painters) where he stayed until 2008.
Aside from winning two PBA titles with the Beermen in 2001 and 2005, among the highlights of Mente’s career in the league was winning the PBA Slam Dunk title in 2001 despite being one of the shortest contenders./PN