DON’T be surprised when you hear Talk `N Text man-mountain Ali Peek speaking and answering questions in polished Filipino.
In his own little way of giving back to basketball fans all the love and support he has received all these years, the burly Tropang Texter center is determined to speak fluently in the native tongue before he calls it a career.
Saying it's never too late to brush off on his Tagalog, the 15-year PBA veteran who was born and raised in Hawaii is determined to converse with fans in the native language in no time.
“It’s my way of letting them know that I am set forth in reaching out to them,” said Peek, the third pick overall of the 1998 rookie draft. “That’s why I’ve been asking people to help me out (in my Tagalog words).”
Even Peek’s aide and driver revealed how dead serious his boss is in learning the Filipino language.
“Ilang buwan na po kaming nag-uusap ng Tagalog, lalo na po pag nasa kotse kami at traffic, Tagalog na ang kwentuhan namin”, said the obviously relieved driver whom Peek asked not to be named.
Knowing how hard Peek works to achieve a goal, his driver expects the boss to be speaking Tagalog smoothly in no time.
“Si Boss Ali po pag may nai-plano talagang pinag-pupursigihan niyang gawin”, added the driver, who also bared how the 37-year-old Peek had doubled up on training to quickly regain his old form.
The center out of St. Mary’s College in California even went to the extent of hitting the gym thrice a day to get back his conditioning, especially with the Tropang Texters aiming to become the first team to win the PBA Philippine Cup thrice in a row since the legendary Crispa Redmanizers did it almost three decades ago.
“Grabe po talaga halos sa gym na siya tumira nun,” said the driver.
But when Spin.ph asked Peek if the rest of the interview can be done in Filipino, the hulking Talk 'N Text growled, “Not now, I’m tired," before bursting into laughter.