I am Jozel Maiko A. Brasileño. I am the Tchoukball Coach of the Good Shepherd Christian Academy Guardians Tchoukball Team. I am a licensed coach by the Tchoukball Association of the Philippines (TAP) and the International Tchoukball Federation (FITB). I am also a FITB C Licensed Referee.
“Tchoukball? What kind of a sport is that?” That was my first reaction when Tchoukball was first introduced to us in Roxas City during the Thursday Rally Night of the 2014 National Student Convention. A video of the game was shown and I never understood how it was played. We were invited to see a demonstration the following day…but I was not interested. It wasn’t really that fun to watch.
It was during the 2016 GSCA’s Awards Progam and Closing Ceremony that changed everything. Our speaker was Mr. Pol Camacho. He was a close family friend and was one of the Board members of TAP. He encouraged us to just ‘try’ Tchoukball and offered to conduct a training here in Butuan City. We agreed and chose July 22-23, 2016 as the date for the clinic. I then asked our school administrator, Pastor Jonie Brasileño, if we could purchase just one tchoukball frame and one ball. Instead, he told me to purchase an entire set, consisting of two frames and two balls.
July 22 came and we had the 1st Butuan Tchoukball Clinic and Coaches/Referees’ Training. TAP officials and players from Manila Crickets Tchoukball Team came and conducted the training.
Coaches from neighboring schools came as well as students from Cabadbaran Baptist Academy. We were taught the basics and technicalities of the sport. Suddenly, our interest in the sport started growing. We had an amazing time during the training. Right after the clinic, students would come to the office after class hours and ask if they could borrow the frames and balls because they want to play Tchoukball. It has now become an addiction.
We then hosted the 1st Mindanao Tchoukball Tournament on October 13-14, 2016. Players from Manila Crickets came back and played with us. It was a thrill to see my students enjoying a new sport. They also saw a different level of play by the Manila Crickets and it inspired them to improve more in the sport. One week later, my students competed in our first NSC Mixed Tchoukball competition in Tagum City. They faced very strong teams, yet enjoyed every minute of it.
We were invited to participate in the Philippine Open Tchoukball Invitational in Cebu City on April 5-7, 2017. It was there where we saw, for the first time, players from Malaysia, Singapore, and undefeated Taiwan. We only won one game during that tournament, but the experience and learning was overwhelming. Our appreciation of the sport became stronger.
A big surprise came when I was contacted by our TAP President and was told that four of my athletes were selected to be part of the Philippine Team to compete in the 2nd World Beach Tchoukball Championships in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on August 15-18, 2017. We were also invited to take part in a one week training with the Taiwan Team and their coach, Fang Shen-Szu. It was an overwhelming experience for us. We praised God for the opportunity given to us despite being new to the sport.
One of our dreams was becoming the NSC Tchoukball Champion. We lost already in two NSCs but have never given up on that dream. Our moment came during the 2018 NSC in Roxas City, the same place where Tchoukball was introduced to NSC and where we said we were never interested in the sport. We played with very strong and experienced teams. We were nervous especially during the championship game. But despite everything that was going on, our players were resilient and gave their best. Our dream finally became a reality! It was the first time GSCA ever won in a team sport event in NSC. We made history, and for that we give God all the glory!
We continued to train for different Tchoukball tournaments around the country. Every tournament has been an opportunity to improve and learn from veteran players. We also had two more opportunities to compete internationally. Two of my players were selected to be part of the Philippine Team for the Southeast Asia Tchoukball Championships in Bangkok, Thailand last November 3-5, 2017 and Asia Pacific Tchoukball Championships in Singapore last July 6-8, 2018.
This year, we were given the opportunity of a lifetime to represent the country in the 5th World Youth Tchoukball Championships in Singapore last August 16-18, 2019. Twelve boys and six girls from the Guardians and six girls from Cebu Butanding Tchoukball Team were selected to compete in the M18 category of the tournament. This was a big challenge for us financially. We started soliciting and fund raising to help in the expenses of the team. Bible Baptist Church of Butuan, Good Shepherd Christian Academy, and Tchoukball Association of the Philippines were extremely supportive to the team especially in finances. Our city government gave support as well. Parents, church members, and even strangers rallied behind the team in raising funds for WYTC. This was a testimony of the incredible provisions of God.
On August 12, we arrived in Singapore and did a tour of the city. The following day, four of us had the opportunity to attend the FITBC Referee’s Training Course. Two veteran referees from Europe were our instructors and we had a wonderful learning experience. Game day came and we went to the playing area. It was a wonderful experience to be playing with teams from Switzerland, Hongkong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, and Vietnam. Despite being new to the international arena, our players fought with determination, skill, and resilience against experienced players. Our boys earned 6th place and our girls earned 3rd place in the M18 category. We gained new friends as well despite being opponents on the court. Four of us also passed the FITBC Referee’s Course and are now FITBC Licensed Referees.
God has been gracious in allowing us to experience amazing things through Tchoukball. It’s amazing to see young people getting involved with a sport that promotes unity, respect, and harmony with everyone. The non-athletic students before have become incredible athletes of the Guardians Tchoukball Team because of their dedication and love for the sport. We also had the opportunity to meet wonderful people that share the same passion for the sport.It is our prayer that Tchoukball can also open doors for us to share the Gospel of Christ to others. I look forward to more opportunities to share this sport we all love, Tchoukball. To God be the glory!