NIC Belasco and Ali Peek were teammates when they were starting their playing careers in the PBA. Now, the two are reunited as they begin a new chapter in their careers as coaches in the new Filsports Basketball League (FBA).
Belasco is the head coach of the Laguna Busa Warriors with Peek as an assistant, bringing together two PBA warriors who spent some time together in the defunct Pop Cola team that picked them in the first round of the 1997 and 1998 pro league's rookie draft, respectively.
The two also happen to share a similar goal in their foray into coaching — to share their knowledge to young players in the regional and grassroots level.
“We are excited to pass on the knowledge that we got over the years,” said Belasco, who also owns the team.
Sharing his basketball knowledge isn’t actually new for Belasco, who has formed the Belasco Unlimited Skills Academy (Busa) to develop skills of players from beginners to the adult level.
This time, Belasco takes his act to a competitive environment with the Warriors squad in the FBA, saying he is excited to apply what he has learned from the several top coaches he played for in a 17-year pro career.
“Ali and I played with a lot of great coaches in the Philippines: Tim Cone, Chot Reyes, Ron Jacobs, Jong Uichico, Norman Black, the list goes on. Each one of those coaches, we took a lot of knowledge from them through the years. This time, we are sharing it to the players,” said Belasco.
So far, Belasco’s Warriors are being tagged as one of the favorites for the inaugural season of the FBA, based on the performance of Belasco’s team in the DELeague in Marikina City.
Peek said the FBA stint will also be a learning experience for both of them.
“This is huge for both of us. It’s also going to be a learning process. We will be teaching but we will also be learning. One of the things that I discovered through the years is that you don’t stop learning,” said Peek, who retired from the PBA last year.
“Whether you are in your 20s, mid-20s, or over 30, you are still learning something new about the game whether it’s on the court or off the court,” Peek added.
Peek said he is in touch with the reality that some of their FBA players may not make it to the PBA someday. Still, the hulking Fil-American hopes the players can apply what they learned from them in their life outside basketball.
“Some of these players aren’t going to make it. But whatever work ethic that you teach them, it can prepare them for life outside basketball. Some of the experience that they will go through as the years go by will help them on and off the court.
“It will definitely help them when they come across a certain situation in their normal lives,” Peek said.