MANILA, APRIL 9, 2006 (STAR) Having a great coach is something that great champions have in common.

This fact is clearly evident in the glorious coaching career of former national coach and Milo Best Center founder and chairman Nic Jorge, who is the man behind the luster of countless basketball stars. Among the hard court hotshots who have benefited tremendously from his passion and insights include Joseph Yeo, Larry Fonacier, Magnum Membrere, Rey Evangelista, Patrick Fran, Chris Tiu, Zandro Limpot, Jerry Codiñera, Poch Juinio, Boybits Victoria, and Derrick Hubalde.

Looking back, Nic almost never managed to fulfill his destiny as coach as his father, UP engineering Prof. Nicanor, Sr. was a disciplinarian who forbade him from playing basketball so he could concentrate on his academics.

But obviously, Nic ultimately chose basketball — and managed to finish his studies as well. To pay for his education, Nic sought the help of UP Band head Eliceo Clamor, who took him in so he could avail of a scholarship. Since Nic did not know how to play any band instrument, Eliceo gave him the task of regularly cleaning the musical instruments so he could keep his slot in the band and his scholarship.

Nic started on his path to coaching greatness by coaching the UP varsity team at the age of 21 — the youngest UAAP coach at that time — as well as the San Miguel team in 1977.

During this period, San Miguel wasn’t one of the highly-fancied teams expected to make a major impact. But thanks to his supreme coaching abilities, Nic managed to bring great attention to the team by steering them towards the championship. Nic’s major coaching stint started in 1978 at the eighth World Basketball Championship. While the Philippines did not win the title, Nic knew that he was only getting started on a coaching career.

While coaching, Nic traveled extensively to Europe and the US, to study and further improve his knowledge about basketball.

Inspired by what he learned, and encouraged by Louisiana State University coach Dale Brown (the coach who discovered Shaq), Nic decided to put up a clinic, where children can learn to play basketball by using scientific methods that he learned overseas.

So it was that in 1979, Nic established the Milo Best Center, which, for the last 27 years, has become the benchmark for basketball training in the country. The Milo Best Center has the best stable of coaches, equipment and programs that have yielded outstanding graduates.

At Milo Best Center, training is complemented by the latest state-of-the-art equipment. The center also has the sport’s best coaches and instructors that are closely handpicked by Nic and his advisers. Most, if not all coaches at the center ,have had extensive training and experience, with some even holding masters and doctorate degrees in human kinetics, ensuring that players are guided properly in their basketball learning and development.

Moreover, newly hired coaches undergo a six-month understudy period, attend a hands-on seminar and must follow a syllabus before they are allowed to teach.

The Milo Best Center continues to be the hotbed for countless basketball stalwarts. That being said, Nic can confidently claim to be the coach of champions.

This year’s clinics will run from April 3 till May 29.

The schedules: Ateneo College Covered Courts April 3-27 (Level 1, all ages) 8-11:30 a.m. (Level 2, ages 12 and up) 1-4:30 p.m., April 4-28 (Level 1, all ages) 8-11:30 a.m., May 2—26 (Levels 2, 3 and 5, ages 9-11), 8-11:30 a.m., May 4-29 (Level 2, ages 6-8) 8:30-11:30 a.m. and (Levels 4 and 6) 1-4 p.m.

Nestlé Alabang May 2-26 (Level 1, all ages) 8-11:30 a.m. (Level 2, ages 5-8), 8:30-11:30 a.m., Level 1 (ages 9 and up) 1-4:30 p.m., (Levels 2, 3 and 4, ages 9 and up), 1-4:30 p.m. Olivarez College Gym Parañaque April 4-May 2, May 5-30 (Level 1), 1-4 p.m., San Beda College April 5-29, May 3-27, 8-11:30 a.m., (Level 1, all ages, Level 2, ages 8 and below) 8:30-11:30 a.m., (Level 2, ages 9 and up, Levels 3 and 4) 1-4:30 p.m.

April 5-29 and May 3-27 at Notre Dame of Greater Manila (Levels 1 and 2, all ages), April 5-29, May 3-27, 8-11:30 a.m., (Level 3, ages 9 and up), 8—11 a.m., Jose Rizal University (Levels 1 and 2, all ages) 1-4:30 p.m., Christ the King Seminary, April 3-27, (Level 1, ages 9 and up) 1-4:40 p.m., May 4-29 (Levels 1 and 2, ages 9 and up) 1-4 p.m. and Xavier Sports Center April 2-25 (Levels 1 and 2, all ages) 1-4 p.m.

For more details, contact the Milo Hotline No. (02)914-7111.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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