No one anticipated the nail-biting, hair-raising, hands-pumped-in-the-air frenzy that was the Battle of Katipunan last May 13 in the Mall of Asia Arena. It was a sea of blue and maroon inside the court as fans witnessed the fight of the century in the UAAP as the UP Fighting Maroons found themselves at the brink of victory against three-time champion, the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
It was a moment forever etched in the minds of the UP community as the Fighting Maroons were down five points during the championship game with only one and a half minute to play left in overtime. Going against the three-peat champs of Ateneo in these final seconds, emerging victorious seemed like an elusive dream that was about to be taken away from the Maroons again but with the mind of a warrior and the heart to give it their all, UP defied the odds.
In a thrilling clutch 3-point play down to the last second by JD Cagulangan, the Fighting Maroons ultimately dethroned the Blue Eagles and took their place as the new kings of the UAAP basketball– and this perfect picture would not have been painted without the Fighting Maroons’ head coach, Goldwin Monteverde.
With a heart to coach and a passion to bring the team together to the top, Chinoy coach Goldwin Monteverde shared his journey towards reaching a UAAP championship– his biggest win that is one for the books.
Growing up in a traditional Chinoy household
As a young Filipino-Chinese, Monteverde was no stranger to the typical Chinoy setup. Although his parents were both strict (Fun fact: his mother was the legendary Mother Lily of Regal Films), he considers them comparatively more lenient compared to the traditional Chinoy parents.
“Sa amin kasi sa family, ‘yung Mom and Dad ko is not that type na would be really strict about it. When you do something, although syempre they would tell you in different ways, but it’s more of parang they empowered us to think sa sarili namin,” shared Monteverde.
He was also very familiar with the ‘take a business career’ that is straight out of the Chinoy parents’ playbook but he did not let this tradition get to him. “My parents then would encourage me na ‘you should help out sa business, try to help out sa brothers and sisters mo sa business natin’ but iba yung sa heart ko eh. At that time, heart ko talaga when I got into coaching, talagang napunta dun ang passion ko,” he said.
Eventually, seeing the passion and drive in Monteverde, his family finally supported him in what he truly wanted to do in life. This goes to show that taking a path not related to the family legacy, although unconventional for Chinoys, is not the end. As long as your choice is aligned with your passion and is something that makes living worthwhile, then take Monteverde’s story as a sign to go for it.
Destined to be a coach
Monteverde has his brother to thank for how he began his coaching career. Initially, he wanted to pursue a career in medicine but his love for basketball was stronger.
Although he was already a fan of basketball with his dad being a famous player for San Beda, Monteverde truly got to learn the ropes of coaching when his brother, also a basketball coach, asked him to help coach St. Stephen High School. Soon after, his brother got busy managing their business and asked Monteverde to take his place as the head coach of the school.
Through hard work and dedication, he was able to steer his team towards winning the Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association (MMTLBA), which is the Fil-Chi counterpart of the UAAP and NCAA.
Monteverde also coached in other Chinese schools such as Chiang Kai Shek and St. Jude Catholic School before entering the collegiate level basketball leagues. He first made it to Adamson University and the National University before eventually landing in the University of the Philippines, where he was destined to coach the Fighting Maroons and end their 36-year title drought.
Nowhere to go but up
It was truly an incredible feat for Monteverde: putting together the Fighting Maroons under a pandemic, being its head coach and then propelling them towards victory during his first year.
For him, it was discipline that was one of the most important ingredients towards their success. “Key factors for me would be discipline. We’ve seen a lot of talent. There’s a lot of talent out there but I’ve always believed that discipline would always protect that talent that we have” Monteverde said.
He also believes in the importance of room for betterment. “One thing is yung growth, that mentality of growth. Every time always striving for improvement whether from a loss or from a win or whenever you achieve something. Never stop learning, never stop growing in your field,” he shared.
The last key to success according to Monteverde is hard work and determination. “Yung wins, you have no control of. Losses, you have no control of. But always [what] you have control [over] is yung sarili mo. If you really work hard, that will be given to you.” he said.
Monteverde recounts the final crucial moments of the championship game when the odds seemed to be against UP. It was at those moments that he truly felt proud of his team, seeing that he ‘never felt yung team na nagkaroon ng doubt sa sarili’. Being the head coach of the Maroons, he was able to ingrain in them the value of trust and never giving up until the last second and true enough, this manifested as they finished the game as victors.
“I remember I was standing sa may sideline, seeing yung mga players jumping, hugging each other. Looking at the crowd, everybody was- some of them were crying, some of them were really celebrating. I felt, sakin one of the happiest moments in my life, yung nakita ko, seeing other people really, lalo na yung mga players really achieving whatever they worked hard for,” he shared.
As a Chinoy himself, Monteverde highlights the potential of the Chinoy community in the field of sports. Given the modern times today and how Chinoys are slowly pushing beyond the boundaries of tradition, this has opened up a lot of opportunities for Chinoys with a passion for sports.
“Mas supportive na siguro mga parents right now. Not like before, mostly mga parents namin would be really into business, encourage yung anak nila to stay on sa business but nowadays, may nakikita rin tayong mga parents that would really support. Like in my case, my parents are so supportive sa mga gusto ko or what I’m good at. I think nowadays, Chinoys get into sports as a career. Parents are more encouraging, more supportive and that’s why in my mind, we would see more successful Chinoys in the coming times,” shared Monteverde.
This Sunday at 8pm, catch 1CH1NOY: Chinese by Blood, Filipino by Heart only on CNN Philippines via Free TV Channel 9, Sky Cable Channel 14, Cignal Channel 10. It will also simultaneously air on CNN Philippines’ webpage