Latest Stories

Bare Eye

Meet an often invisible win-win coach


THOSE were indeed glittering feats delivered by the teenage Philippine boxing team on the final day of a gold-picking expedition at the Subic Freeport in Zambales last March 16. The five-man team won four gold medals, and missed tying powerhouse Kazakhstan (4 golds, 1 silver) for the top spot by a silver medal.

In a way, the young PH team (aged 17-18) did surpass itself because Kazakhstan had entries in all 10 divisions. An established world power in amateur boxing, Kazakhstan also brought in a Cuban coach, maybe the first time it had done so in its storied international stints.

National amateur boxing president Ricky Vargas was profuse with praises for the golden feats. He did not say it but Vargas appeared convinced they have found the right path in their quest for the country’s first Olympic gold.

* * *

It was a sparkling stand by the Pinoy simonpures but no one could honestly point out what made all the difference.

One veteran scribe at ringside was quick to single out the presence of a British consultant who had offered to assist the national team during the London Olympics last year.

“He really emphasized on defense which helped the team tremendously,” the scribe explained.

There, indeed, has been great improvement in that area, but when the coach of the teenage national squad, three-time Olympian Romeo Brin, moved over to the radio booth for a postfight talk and felicitation with dzSR, the soft-spoken warrior proved to be quite a revelation.

* * *

“Eumir Marcial was good, but he kept getting hit silly in the head, mainly in the final round,” this reporter told coach Brin.

The dusky, battle-scarred Olympian humbly acknowledged the observation and explained they would next concentrate on that flaw: “Tinuturuan, pero hindi natin mabigla, masyado pang mura  (We’re teaching him, but we’re going slow. He’s too raw).”

Brin also explained that Marcial, a bantamweight gold medalist in the last World Youth Boxing Championships who has suddenly grown into a welterweight, still has to fully steady himself up in the heavier division.

On James Palicte, who opted to stand in front of his foe without doing anything in the closing round, Brin explained that they just “kidnapped” the lanky lightweight from the recent National Open in Maasin, Leyte.

“Wala talagang hangin, pero matapang at mabilis matuto (He was short-winded but is a fast learner, very brave),” Brin explained.

* * *

Would Brin be made to handle these talented amateurs all the way in their quest for slots in the Olympics?

Truth is these gold-medal winners and other talents in their young batch may not be ripe and ready yet for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

But what could be truly heartwarming was the quiet emergence of Brin, a native of Taytay, Rizal, now based in Palawan, as the most convincing trainer and teacher of emerging boxing talents.

This is not to say the 40-year-old Brin, who had fought with very little success in the Atlanta, Sydney and Athens Olympics, could finally prove to be the missing link.

Always short and smaller in all his three Olympic stints, Brin has apparently translated all his losing experiences into humble winning pointers for his young wards.

“Hindi puwedeng sigawan at sabihin kung anong gagawin sa oras ng laban (It’s not proper to shout and tell the boxer what to do during a fight),” Brin explained softly.

He believes that shouting out instructions frantically during a fight could mislead or disorient the young fighter.

Brin believes in first quietly assuring young fighters, teaching them how to be sharply convenient with their strength and skills, instead of always telling them what they were doing wrong.

Problem: Brin is so humble, obscure he tends to be invisible even at the moment of triumph.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Boxing

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  • Why are Americans obsessed with missing plane?
  • Napoles to have surgery on Tuesday – report
  • Mayor’s assassination linked to black sand mining controversy
  • Initial batch of Etihad passengers tested negative for MERS-CoV
  • Sports

  • PBA D-League: Waves edge skidding Superchargers
  • Ilad’s last-second basket lifts Gems over Bakers
  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Arrest warrants out vs. Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al over serious illegal detention
  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Business

  • Century Pacific Food sets IPO price at P13.75 per share
  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • Marketplace