NIC Jorge, a veteran coach and official who founded the basketball school that became the launchpad of the careers of several hoops stars, died in his sleep on Saturday. He was 78, friends of the family said.
Jorge was the coach of the Philippine team that saw action in the 1978 Fiba World Cup in Manila and later served as secretary-general of the Basketball Association of the Philippines (replaced by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas).
He started his career as coach of the University of the Philippines Maroons in the UAAP at age 21.
The portly basketball man became a giant in the game when he founded the Milo BEST (Basketball Efficiency and Scientific Training) Center in 1979, pioneering a series of sports clinics that honed the skills of future cage stars.
He also coached the Manhattan Shirtmakers in 1983 in the PBA.
Among the stars who trained under Jorge's long-running basketball school were Kiefer Ravena, Jerry Codinera, Rey Evangelista, Patrick Fran, Jun Limpot, Chris Tiu, Boybits Victoria, Joseph Yeo, and Larry Fonacier.
Just two years after helping put up the SBP, Jorge left its board and focused on grassroots sports development.
His body will be cremated today.