IT took 300 miles and a tournament for a well-respected mentor to officially seal the deal with his future champion – 15-year-old Marcus Hinojas of Bacolod City
This as National University Bulldogs taekwondo head coach Jeffrey Figueroa alongside his assistant Maurice Adrian Ronario flew all the way from Manila to meet his new talent last Friday evening.
Figueroa saw Hinojas during the recent 2017 Carlos Palanca Jr. Kukkiwon Cup National Taekwondo Championships held in Manila where he finished silver in the junior men division finweight 45kg category against fighters aged 17 and 18 years old.
Figueroa, who steered the Bulldogs in a successful season in the UAAP, found a great future for the Negrense fighter, adding, that he’s confident that Hinojas will able reach the international competition.
He added that he is happy to have recruited Marcus, who he described as very valuable additional to his line up this coming UAAP Season. “Marcus will surely bring more firepower to my line up together with new recruits from Cebu and Baguio,” he said.
While, taekwondo also requires height, Figueroa disputed that what he was looking for in a fighter is someone who fits in the weight and has the heart to win. “Marcus’ height and weight are just right for his age and I can still make him win. The important thing is that, if he’s ready,” the NU coach said.
Meanwhile, anticipating of the possible culture change in Manila, Figueroa said that he can assure that he would able to make appropriate motivation for Marcus in order for him to stay focused on training and be one of the best fighters of the National University and in the country,” he said. “Also, I will introduce to him the best team in the country. I will also let him enjoy the training at NU,” he added.
On countering the possible pirating of athletes, Figueroa stressed that he is confident that NU is one of the best universities in the country which provides an overwhelming support. “Sir Hans Sy is very open in supporting the needs of our team and athletes. Also, I’m confident of my player’s loyalty because we are the only school that has this kind of training program,” he added.
On the academic perspective, the National University has good program to support the athletes’ needs. “Our players have academic advisers who conduct weekly monitoring on their scholastic developments – on which tutorials are provided to ensure that the players still doing good in their respective classes,” he stressed. “Mr. Sy also wants that our athletes excel both in athletics and academics – in which coincides with my principles. And, I don’t also want to discomfit with the parents,” he added.
The National University is strongly supported by SM’s Hans Sy.
Hinojas, on the other hand, has been under the watch of Hanah Taekwondo gym coach Vic Feria and Negros Taekwondo Union Tigers-Talisay mentor Ninoy Telequido. He has also been supported by Talisay City Mayor Niel Lizares and Murcia Mayor Andrew Montelibano.*