By Waylon Galvez
Nic Jorge, who called the shots for the Philippine team that competed in the 1978 World Championships in Manila, passed away Saturday morning.
Jorge, also the creator of the MILO Best grassroots program, was 78.
During the 1978 worlds, Jorge’s squad finished eighth overall.
Jorge’s coaching career began in the 1960s when he mentored the University of the Philippines Maroons in the 1960s at the tender age of 21 before being brought to the PBA to man the bench of the Manhattan Shirtmakers and Sunkist Juice Lovers in 1983.
That same year, Jorge also coached the Singapore national team when it hosted the Southeast Asian Games.
After his coaching days, Jorge served as Secretary-General in the ‘80s of the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP), which has been replaced by the Samahang Basketbol ng Philippines, where he is also an active member with his grassroots program.
The MILO BEST proved to be Jorge’s pride and joy as it produced the likes of Benjie Paras, Jerry Codiñera, Jun Limpot, Kiefer Ravena, Larry Fonacier, Patrick Fran, Rey Evangelista, Boybits Victoria and Chris Tiu.
Bernie Atienza, the SBP Deputy Executive Director and a close friend of Jorge, said that more than the contributions, the camaraderie and relationship are what he will miss most following Jorge’s passing.
“He loves basketball, but what he loves most is to see the development of young aspiring basketball players,” said Atienza. “There are lots of players who are now in the pros that his Best Center helped develop skills.”
“He’ll be missed of course… personally for me because he was with us when we fought with the formation of the SBP, where he served as one of the original board of trustees,” he added.
Jorge is survived by wife Marlyn, three children Monica, Veronica and Nicky, as well their grandchildren.