By JONAS TERRADO
Jong Uichico urged young athletes and coaches to learn from the harrowing experience he had as one of the major personalities in a massive brawl between Gilas Pilipinas and Australia in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers last month.
The Gilas assistant coach served as keynote speaker in yesterday’s opening of the Las Pinas Schools Athletic Association at Don Carlo Cavina School in one of his first few public engagements since being handed a three-game ban by FIBA for throwing punches at Australia’s Chris Goulding during the incident.
The mild-mannered Uichico had been remorseful in the aftermath of the fight, which is why the nine-time PBA champion coach took advantage of the event to get his message across.
“Think of positive thoughts. The mind is really very powerful in whatever sport you are in,” Uichico said during a speech that lasted four minutes. “Instill in your mind with positive thoughts and your emotions will follow.
“Do not let your emotions control your actions, especially in sports that involved physical contact. I am telling you this because I’ve been an experience of one. It can change your life.
“One more thing that experience has taught me a lesson is that once you make a mistake, you forget that mistake. But do not forget the lesson that you will learn from that mistake. I want you to instill that in yourselves and in your value formation.