AT a time when players who have retired way earlier than him are looking to return to the PBA, Ali Peek has ruled out a comeback.
Although there is still a slot waiting for him at Talk 'N Text and possibly with three expansion teams - all in need of quality big men, the man-mountain bared that coming back to the pro league is not part of his plans.
Now a full-time television analyst at TV5, the wide-bodied third pick overall of the 1998 PBA rookie draft declared that he "no longer has the drive to again strut his wares in the hardcourt."
“Nope, absolutely not (coming back),” said the 39-year-old Peek, shaking his head vigorously.
The hulking Fil-Am admitted Father Time has caught up with him, owing to different injuries that slowed him down at the latter part of his illustrious 16-year career in the pro league.
“Honestly, I don't have anything left in the gas tank. I can try to come back, but it’s just not going to be the same,” he added. “I figure I had my time, 16 years is good enough.
"I have a back injury that will never be the same. It was a good time to walk away and just stay away from playing basketball."
The three-time PBA All-Star, who retired just last February, declared that nothing can ever change his mind as he has already "lost the desire to come back and play."
“It has nothing to do with money. When I feel that I lost the desire and lost the drive, it’s really no sense coming back to play. It’s a disservice to myself and disservice to the company I play for,” Peek said.
Asked if he can be an evergreen player like Air 21 Express’ main man Asi Taulava, who is two years older than him but still routinely churns out double-doubles, Peek shook his head.
“No, I can’t be like him. Asi is doing a great job. He’s 41 years old. Let him keep playing. I’m cool and I love what I am doing right now,” he said.
“I love just kicking back and not having to worry about banging up against a big body like Asi and having to worry about trying to help my team win,” Peek said with a smile.
Peek said he is also happy with the renewed motivation that his contemporary is showing especially with the guidance of his longtime trainer John Aquino.
But still, Peek believes he no longer has to prove anything in the PBA.
“I keep saying this, 'He (Taulava) stole my trainer.' That’s a direct result. The way he is performing that’s not a fluke, it’s by design. I just credit it to the trainer I had these past five years,” he said of Taulava whom he claims is "the last of the dinosaurs."
Peek also stressed how he is now "in love with broadcasting more than basketball."
And to keep him at pace with the trend in basketball, Peek said he is trying to emulate some popular NBA panelists by keenly monitoring and reviewing their work.
“I watch a lot of TNT and watch a lot of NBA games to just listen to what the broadcasters say, guys like Ernie Johnson, coach Jeff Van Gundy, Steve Kerr, Reggie Miller. I love listening to them,” he said.
“I really love broadcasting now more than I love basketball.”
See video of full interview with Ali Peek: