Bishop Amat volleyball standout
remembered as dedicted to team
August 16, 2005
by Ben Baeder
of SGV Tribune.com
For 18- year-old Don Gangcuangco, pushing himself to the
limit was no big thing.
When he hurt his ankle
just weeks before his volleyball team at Bishop Amat High
School was scheduled for a playoff game this spring, he
spent every lunch break doing rehabilitation exercises in
the school's training room until he was healthy enough to
rejoin the squad, his coach said.
And he sometimes took
it to the limit on the road, too, his friend said.
zipping around in his 2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder, which was
outfitted with a carbon-fiber hood to reduce the car's
But officials say the
former volleyball standout may have pushed himself too
control of his car while driving above the 30- mph speed
limit on winding Covina Hills Road in an unincorporated
area between San Dimas and Covina at about 10:20 p.m.
Monday, according to a report from California Highway
Patrol Sgt. Keri Clark. The car went down a small hill
and hit a tree.
The impact killed
Gangcuangco, according to the CHP and friends.
"I think he was
just going really fast and lost control,' said
Christopher Ayo, 18, Gangcuangco's best friend, who
visited the crash site.
"You could, like,
imagine it when you go to the site,' he said. "You
can see the tire marks on the street. Damage done to the
tree. Blood on the tree. It was awful.'
Ayo grew up down the
street from Gangcuangco in West Covina.
They played on the
volleyball team at Bishop Amat, graduated from the school
in June and planned to attend UC Riverside.
They even hoped to buy
a house together, Ayo said.
"I have known him
since I was like, 1 year old,' Ayo said.
volleyball coach at Bishop Amat said the team's 2005 m
ost v aluable player was the last person he would have
thought would die a tragic death.
"He was the most
clean-cut guy on the team,' said Chris Lozano, the
school's varsity volleyball coach.
Although he was only 6
feet tall small by volleyball standards Gangcuangco was
the team's outside hitter and helped lead the school to
the 2005 Del Rey League title, Lozano said.
"He was just such
a good guy,' Lozano said. "I was actually hoping to
ask him if he would help coach this year.'
Friends and family are
looking to hold a funeral service Monday at Forest Lawn
Memorial Park and Mortuary in Covina Hills, but they are
still trying to finalize details, Ayo said.
Peter, said his son was a "very, very good boy.'
him,' he said.
For Lozano, a lasting
image of Gangcuangco stands out in his mind, he said.
"I remember seeing
him crying when he hurt his ankle,' he said. "I
walked up, and he wasn't crying because he was hurt, he
was crying because he was mad, because he couldn't help