De Brito relishes PH coaching stint despite 'a lot of challenges'

De Brito relishes PH coaching stint despite ‘a lot of challenges’

/ 05:16 PM April 30, 2024

Philippine women's national volleyball team coach Jorge Souza de Brito

Philippine women’s national volleyball team coach Jorge Souza de Brito. –MARLO CUETO/NQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Jorge Souza De Brito may have the challenging task of handling the Philippine women’s volleyball program but the country has turned into his second home.

Despite drawing criticisms from volleyball fans, the Brazilian tactician feels Manila has a special place in his heart out of all the countries he served.

“To make me happy, it’s quite easy, especially if there’s a volleyball. I enjoyed my time here even if I’m missing home. Right now, this is our home. I feel comfortable even though there are a lot of challenges,” De Brito, whose three-year stint with the team ends when his contract expires on June 30, told Inquirer Sports in an exclusive interview on Friday evening.

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READ: Jorge De Brito to step down as PH women’s volleyball coach

De Brito, a former Akari coach in the PVL, is looking for other options after his contract expires but he is keen on staying in the Philippines because his family has been enjoying their lives in Manila.

“The people here are good. My kids are playing volleyball here and I would enjoy watching them grow up here and also a chance,” he said.

The 1992 Olympic gold medalist, who arrived in the country in 2021 under the FIVB’s development project platform, feels he “can do much more” for the country as a volleyball coach.

“I feel that I can share a little bit more.  I can see some young guys in two or three years, they will be stars in Philippine volleyball. They have the potential but it depends on them [how to maximize that] and their [life] decision,” said De Brito. “It would be an immense pleasure to continue serving the Philippine volleyball community.”

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As he bids farewell to the Philippine women’s volleyball team, De Brito hopes his legacy will be a coach who was always willing to do the right thing.

“I think my legacy is if you’re doing the right thing, don’t be afraid, keep on doing it. Maybe the guys don’t like you, go against what’s your feeling. But you know, like in the game, if there are many guys against you, your goal is to stay in the right direction,” he said.

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“I came here in the middle of the pandemic I was the one who accepted to come.”

READ: Jorge Souza de Brito resigns as Akari coach

De Brito may have failed to end the country’s decade-long medal drought in the Southeast Asian Games after back-to-back fourth-place finishes in Cambodia last year and Vietnam in 2021 but he brought a different flavor of coaching style to Philippine volleyball being known as a hands-on and father figure coach to his players.

During his tenure, the country’s FIVB women’s world rankings improved from 117 to 63 when the squad, bannered by Bella Belen and Alyssa Solomon, participated in the Asian Seniors Women’s Volleyball Championships in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand last September.

The biggest what-if for De Brito was the national team pool of players was not always committed to playing in every invitation and tournament. De Brito believes the women’s national squad would have reached greater heights had the team gotten enough international exposure.

“We have to let the best players play more international exposure. And for the coaches, when go around the world, ask the international coaches, attend clinics and coaching courses. The foreign coaches are really open to sharing because volleyball is one big nation,” De Brito said.

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De Brito hopes to have the best players in his final stint with the national team when it sees action in the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Challenge Cup from May 22 to 29 in Manila.

TAGS: Jorge Souza de Brito, Philippine Women's National Volleyball Team

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