Talk ‘N Text (TNT) cager Ali Peek was shot in the neck Monday night, but the gun used was not powerful enough to knock down the hulking player.
Ali, who stayed on his feet after the shot was fired, was even led to his car by weight trainer John Aquino who then rushed him to Medical City in Pasig.
Ali had just finished his regular weight training under Aquino at the RFM gym when he was shot at the parking lot.
On his way to the car, several fans even managed to take his autograph and pose with him for photos.
The fans later saw the gunman run away from the scene.
The security guard on duty at the parking lot said he could not tell initially if Ali was hit because he was still standing and his big hand covered the wound left by the gunshot.
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“Ali is such a good person. I can’t understand why anyone would want to harm him,” said TNT alternate governor Ricky Vargas after visiting Ali at the hospital. “He’s a very simple man with no vices and is well-liked by his teammates.”
Ricky said Smart-PLDT and Meralco big boss Manny V. Pangilinan, Maynilad SVP Pato Gregorio and MVP Sports Foundation president Al Panlilio also visited Ali early Tuesday morning.
“All his friends rushed to his bedside as soon as they learned about what happened,” Ricky said. “Don Allado kept watch over him all night, with teammates Jimmy Alapag and Jared Dillinger taking the next shift.”
According to Ricky, Ali’s very first boss in the PBA, RFM’s altermate governor and team manager Elmer Yanga, also came to visit.
It was actually Elmer who first told me years ago about Ali’s positive qualities.
“Simple” was the adjective he used to describe the Fil-American.
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Since Elmer had access to the RFM premises and personnel, I decided to call him.
Elmer said the gunman initially approached the gym janitor to inquire about rates.
Elmer also said that Ali used to park his car nearer the gym.
He said the bullet was still imbedded in Ali’s neck.
“I just saw this on the Internet,” Elmer texted me later. “MVP is offering a P500,000 reward for information that will lead to the arrest of suspects responsible for the shooting.”
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That amount, mind you, could help defray the cost of sending the country’s U-16 national girls team to the Fiba Asia tournament. The team is still without a sponsor, even though Alex Huang helps provide the members’ recovery meals and has pledged to give them allowances for the trip.
There was a report Tuesday that someone had talked to Ali before he started weight training. He seemed upset after the talk, the report said.
What could exactly be the motive of the gunman?
Only Ali knows the answer. He saw the gunman.