Fortunato 'Atoy' Co Jr. happily admits to being a senior citizen — no surprises there since he has already established himself in the three things Filipinos are passionate about: basketball, showbiz, and politics. His friends say this all-time great of Philippine basketball has nothing left to prove, but the man himself disagrees.
“Hindi mabubuo yung cycle ng basketball life ko kapag hindi ko ginawa ito,” Co says of his pressure-packed job coaching the Mapua Cardinals men’s basketball team in the NCAA. “Lalung-lalo na sa Mapua kung saan ako nag-umpisa at nakilala. It’s my way to give back and I’m doing it also for my personal satisfaction.”
Like Co, we all long for self-fulfillment. Here’s his tactic to achieving it.
Don’t Stop Learning
[Madalas kami manalo noon] sa PBA pero pagdating noong mga bandang 1981 to 1982, nahihirapan na ‘yung Crispa manalo. Nag-e-evolve na kasi ang basketball. May mga [makabagong] sistema na yung ibang team. Nung si Tommy Manotoc ang naging coach namin in 1983, may mga bagong sistemang ginamit at nanalo ulit kami ng grand slam. Kailangan kasi, you have to follow trends. Kasi talagang pinag-aaralan na ang lahat ngayon.
Dedicate Yourself To Excellence
Basta pinasok ko ang isang bagay, bibigyan ko yan ng time — pag-aaralan ko at dedicated ako. Kailangan yung mindset mo focused [on the goal], walang pagkukunwari. At kailangan happy ka sa ginagawa mo. Katulad ngayon, pinasok ko yung coaching. Dati hindi mo ako mapapagising [ng] 5 a.m. Ngayon, dahil sa basketball practice, bumabangon ako ng ganung oras kasi I’m really very happy now with my new job as head coach of Mapua. Maraming heartaches and headaches, but it makes me happy and I can live with it. Kung hindi ako masaya, hindi ako gigising ng ganun kaaga para sa [practice].
Know Your Weaknesses
Hindi tayo pwedeng mag-galinggalingan. Kaya ko aminin sa ibang tao na hindi ko alam ang isang bagay. Bakit ako magmamarunong? Mapapahiya lang ako kung may kapalpakang mangyayari. Don’t pretend you’re good when you’re not. I’m not that kind of person. Hindi ako insecure na ang level ng assistants ko ay head coaches. Kasi naniniwala ako sa capacity, skill, and basketball knowledge nila. Ang iniisip ko yung kapakanan ng team at kung ano yung input ng mga coaches sa team para lalo itong lumakas.
I’m [a 61-year-old guy], but I don’t feel like one and I don’t look like one. You know why? Because I have my regular sports activities. I have my Monday and Thursday basketball games. I still go to the gym, every other day as much as possible. Kasi naniniwala ako [in] staying fit. Up to now wala akong maintenance medicines, except vitamins. I don’t have anything. I just had my blood test, and everything is normal except my uric acid — it’s slightly higher. Even my prostate is fine and I owe that to my fitness regimen.
Share Your Knowledge
I was a member of a team that won many championships in the PBA during our time. I have all the experiences of being a champion. Alam ko kung ano ang ingredients to be one. Sayang din yung knowledge na yan kung hindi ko rin ma-iimpart, at sa eskwelahan ko pa kung saan ako nag-umpisa. Accepting the coaching job is one way of sharing and helping. And that’s all I want to do now at this stage.
CO’S GO-TO PLAYS
1. Always choose to learn.
Doing so keeps you from being obsolete while bolstering your skill set.
2. Find happiness in what you do.
It’s the best way to stay motivated.
3. Be humble.
Admitting to your weaknesses helps you address them better.
4. Keep moving.
The benefits of regular exercise will show with age.
5. Remember your beginnings.
Know when it’s time to give back to those who’ve helped you in the past.
BUILD SHOOTING MUSCLE
Train your trigger
Spending time at the gym doesn’t only benefit your cardio on the court. “It would even improve shooting. As long as you lift correctly, with the right range of motion and work on joint mobility and stability,” says Nico D’Haenen, strength and conditioning coach of the San Miguel Beermen who plays in the ASEAN Basketball League.
He recommends two must-do moves. First is the Turkish get up. “If properly executed, it works your core and shoulder stability, overall coordination, and breathing.” He adds that this addresses the necessary components of a silky smooth jumper.
Next is jump squats. Whether with your own weight or with added resistance of dumbbells or kettlebells, D’Haenen says the move improves leg endurance and strength to help your jumper be more consistent.