Former national coach, BEST Center founder Nic Jorge passes away

Beloved and respected basketball coach Nic Jorge has passed away on early Saturday morning at the age of 78.

Jorge is the jovial man behind the BEST Center, sponsored by MILO. BEST stands for Basketball Efficiency and Scientific Training Center. Founded in 1978 by Jorge, it was the first of its kind to teach the fundamentals of the sport using scientific and systematized approach.

That is why from its inception up to the present time, the BEST Center continues to be the benchmark of basketball training in the country.

The basketball camp, which is held in cities all over the country, has helped catapult the basketball careers of some of the country’s most distinguished players.

The list includes current PBA stars James Yap and Kiefer Ravena and former pros Jerry Codinera, Rey Evangelista, Jun Limpot, Chris Tiu and Larry Fonacier just to name a few.

Over here in Cebu, nearly all of the city’s best have trained in Milo BEST and have competed in the Milo BEST tournaments. This includes former MVP Geno Gallarde, Niño Ramirez, current PBA players Kris Porter and Paul Desiderio, 3x3 national team member Leonard Santillan and former UAAP star Jun Manzo.

Cebu camp and tournament director Rico Navarro, who has worked with Jorge since 2008, said he will never forget the big man with an even bigger heart.

“We have lost a big man indeed. I was honored and thrilled when they invited me to be part of the BEST Center family. All of Philippine basketball is aware of the huge impact that the BEST Center has had on basketball. Nobody else has matched what they've accomplished. My wish is that he gets his due recognition,” said Navarro.

Before he established the BEST Center, Jorge also served as the coach of the Philippine team that competed in the 1978 FIBA World Cup in Manila.

He also served as the secretary-general of the precursor of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the Basketball Association of the Philippines. Jorge though, got his break into coaching the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons which he coached at the young age of 21. (JNP)