Nic Belasco didn’t think he was going to get another shot.
The 14-year-veteran, whose memorable career saw him at Sunkist, San Miguel, Alaska, Welcoat, Coca-Cola, Talk ‘N Text, and Sta. Lucia, thought that the PBA chapter of his life was over. After his last stint, the Filipino-American forward moved his family to San Francisco, and in fact sold all his real properties and vehicles in the Philippines.
“I sold my truck to Mike Cortez,” he told InterAKTV with a chuckle in an exclusive interview Friday night. “I didn’t know I was going to be back!”
Belasco suffered an MCL injury to his knee in his last PBA game with Sta. Lucia in 2010. He went to the United States, where he tried living life after basketball. He found work at a group home at the Edgewood Center for Children and Families, where he used his major in psychology to work with troubled kids and help them progress in life.
“It was tough,” he said. “These were kids who have been abused all their lives.”
While he genuinely cared for the kids, the work was draining for Belasco, who began to miss the basketball lifestyle. He began working with a team in the semi-professional American Basketball Association as an assistant coach while he rehabbed his knee. Once he was healthy, he began running with the players, and realized he still had it in him to guard bigger guys in the post.
In a twist of fate, Ariel Vanguardia, the Filipino coach of the Westports Malaysia Dragons called him up to offer a spot on the team. Belasco hopped on a plane, and he was once again a professional basketball player.
He helped the Dragons crash the semifinals of the ASEAN Basketball League, where they pushed top-seed San Miguel Beer to a deciding third game.
That paved the way for his latest PBA stint with the Powerade Tigers. Coach Bo Perasol described Belaco’s signing as “frontcourt insurance”. AKTV analyst Jojo Lastimosa, who coached Belasco at Alaska, said the move will help Powerade.
“Hindi kasi siya maghahanap ng tira,” said Lastimosa. “He’ll take care of defense and rebounding without worrying about his shots.”
On Sunday, he played 14 minutes against the Meralco Bolts, contributing four points, four rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Even in just his first game , he looked like he was finally back where he belonged.