Fast Break


Coaches are leaders, motivators, influencers, teachers, and parents of their own crafts. They are people that made others begin their successful careers developing their crafts, skills, and expertise in their chosen domains. The best coach sees the reflection of their athletes' dreams and most likely, makes it happen.

/ 8 November 2020

It is not really hard to look into the crucial role of being a coach, one may overlook but a true sports athlete vastly recognizes the man who appoints the calls. Other coaches lived their prime years playing in the hardcourt but eventually, had risen up the ladder and moved to touch every athletes’ lives. 

To celebrate the national day for coaches recognized last month, let us go through the best coaches that flourished the whole sporting world.

Image Source: LA TIMES

Freddie Roach

The best man that made the ring gladiator soar through the greatest heights winning pinnacle over pinnacle in the world of boxing. Without him, our living legend Manny Pacquiao would not ever have surfaced that achievement which was never before reached by any Filipino athlete.

There is no other duo that drew triumphs and dominance in boxing other than Roach and Pacquiao. Now they are living on a 27-5-2 record as well as taking home World titles from the junior featherweight to the super welterweight divisions.

Roach’s record emerged already in the World Boxing Hall of Fame. Moreover, he has also won the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Trainer of the Year award seven times from 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2014.

Image Source: ABS-CBN SPORTS

Ramil de Jesus

Ramil de Jesus is a man of titles of his own, steering volleyball teams to championship titles consisting of the De La Salle Lady Spikers and F2 Logistics Cargo Movers.

The man is highly recognized as the mastermind behind De La Salle Lady Spikers’ supremacy in the UAAP. In 2019 alone, he steered the squad to 11 championship titles and seven runner-up finishes. 

Players have come and gone throughout the guidance of De Jesus, but we can’t deny the fact that the team has remained a powerhouse for the main reason of the name, Ramil de Jesus.

In PSL, he also placed his drive for winning as former players he taught namely Cha Cruz, Aby Marano, Ara Galang, Kim Fajardo, Dawn Macandili, Majoy Baron, and Kim Dy made sure to clinch trophies in the pro-league. 

His short two-month run as the coach of the Philippine women’s national team in 2018 had everyone pumped up, after all, it was De Jesus who led the Philippine team in their last podium finish in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) back in 2005.

Image Source: UAAP

Tab Baldwin

This is another man to note for, as this tactician ended the drought for Gilas Pilipinas with Jayson Castro, Calvin Abueva, and Terrence Romeo as ace players that brought the Philippine to win a silver medal in the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship in Changsha.

Furthermore, he was also the coach behind the Philippine stint in the Manila leg of the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in 2016.

Tab Baldwin also made his mark in UAAP basketball as Ateneo did benefit in his coaching prowess winning a three-peat championship which was achieved by having a whopping 16-0 record with Thirdy Ravena, Isaac Go, and twins Matt and Mike Nieto stepping on the gas for the team. 

Now, some of his products are dawning the pro-league. Including Thirdy Ravena who recently had a successful debut in the Japan B.league.

Image Source: ASN

Thomas Dooley

The Philippine national soccer team has made noises because of this man. The boom of the Philippine Azkals was noticeable, which showed that basketball is not the lone frontline of Philippine sports; soccer can also bring so much pride and can make us unite in international arenas. 

Dooley left the national team with a record of 20 wins, 11 draws, and 15 losses since he guided the team in early 2014. He made a tilt of 55.43 win percentage when splitting the draws between the wins and losses. Moreover, he lifts the Philippine from 130th to reach its highest Fifa ranking at 111 in May 2018, an achievement that won’t go unnoticed. 

Image Source: ADAMSON

Ana Santiago

Ana Santiago is a prime person for the Adamson Lady Falcons in the world of softball. Under her watch, Adamson won a total of 14 championships, including the 9 consecutive UAAP softball titles.

Aside from winning titles, Santiago also orchestrated an unparalleled 73-game win streak spanning from 2010 to 2016. Although the UST snapped the superb win streak, the Lady Falcons still didn’t fail to finish its main goal, winning the title. 

It is without a doubt that through her guidance, the country can establish a breeding ground for future national team hitters. 

Image Source: FIBA

Pat Aquino

Pat Aquino has helped lift women’s basketball to unprecedented new heights, breaking the basketball norms in the country and internationally. 

Because of this man, the NU Bulldogs hold the longest winning streak in all collegiate sports with a record of 96 straight victories and still counting. The slow climb began in 2014, which now has six championship titles in the bag.

This made the NU women’s basketball team structured the best ground roots in all Philippine sports.

In Aquino’s guidance, the Gilas Pilipinas Women also showed excellence by capturing the elusive gold in the recently concluded 30th Sea Games 5-on-5 basketball tournament in addition to their inaugural 3×3 gold, that made the national team promoted to Division A of the Fiba Women’s Asia Cup.


Masa Saito

Masa Saito is the man behind the takeover of James de los Santos as no. 1 in eKata rankings. 

Pinoy pride James de los Santos sincerely acknowledges kata coach, Masa Saito. Without which, de los Santos run may not happen. 

According to the newly no. 1, in his stint when he reached no. 2 in the division, he was about 3,000 points behind the no. 1 he felt discouraged at first, but then he remembered what Masa Saito said to him, “to take it one tournament at a time.”

Masa Saito, a man who painted Mona Lisa for James de los Santos, not just brought pride to the young karateka but also to all Filipinos.

Image Source: PBA

Leo Austria

Leo Austria transformed Adamson into one of the tough contenders to look out for in UAAP basketball. Eventually, the man took over Bobby Parks for San Miguel.

In that time, Austria and the squad had momentum winnings and steered the Beermen to the 2013 ASEAN Basketball League championship.

It was then in 2014 he officially assumed the role of head coach for the San Miguel Beermen. He furnished the team to these past years, winning championships over the other—eight championship titles, including five straight all-Filipino cup crowns.

The man produced former MVP June Mar Fajardo, also Arwind Santos and Chris Ross. 

Austria engineered San Miguel as the winningest team in the last six years. The man rolled the squad from six titles in 13 years to eight titles until 2019. 

Absolutely, we are the masters of our fate and the captains of our soul according to William Ernest Henley’s Invictus. But, in the world of sports, every athlete needs a man to steer their wheel directing them to the right path—throughout every athlete’s successes there’s always a person behind it.