The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles reclaimed the UAAP Judo Championship at the St. Benilde Gym in La Salle Green Hills last November 19-20. The Blue Eagles won five gold medals across eight weight divisions, in what coach Ali Sulit deemed as the most dominant performance in their history. Two of those five gold medals came from Querubin brothers, Alfred (-81kg) and Jaq (-100kg).
Judo is a bit of a family affair for the Querubins, as Alfred and Jaq had an older sister compete for Ateneo in the said sport. The older brother, Alfred, remarked, “Our family is pretty good. We’re pretty close to each other. Supportive to one another.”
Things weren’t smooth for the Querubin brothers in their younger days as their father, Col. Ariel Querubin, was incarcerated for roughly four to five years. The time period was a painful experience for the Querubin family, with Col. Querubin unable to attend many of his family’s milestones. Jaq shared, “We had some events that he was badly missed because he was not allowed to go, like my father and son night, where it was like we get to bond with our dads. It was just my cousin instead who went.”
Nevertheless, Col. Querubin was able to fulfill his duties as a father despite the limited time he had had with his children. “Our father was always supportive of us in doing Judo. And as influence, I guess he was a very, in general, good father”, said Alfred.
Both the Querubin brothers had been in Ateneo’s books even before they had reached the tertiary level. Alfred felt that their father had put them there because he believed in the quality education provided by Ateneo, while Jaq followed suit because of his family.
Despite the fact that the high school and college sections are found on one campus, the culture could not be more different. Alfred explained, “High school, it’s more of making friends and having a hard time, going through things together with classmates. In college it’s a lot more difficult and if you’re a student-athlete, it’s even harder in Ateneo. Well I set time for my studies and attend to the requirements before going to training.” But regardless of the difference, both Querubin brothers thought that the stress in college was quite manageable.
Interestingly, the Querubin brothers started Judo relatively late in their lives. Alfred started 3 1/2 years ago, while Jaq did so the summer before his senior year at Ateneo High School. Alfred narrated, “I was into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that time. It looked cool especially when you are watching MMA. I wanted to join BJJ until I found out it was a bit pricey. Someone told me to join Judo instead. I said why not and I’ll just try it out for a while. It’s a good exercise and had a good culture.” On the other hand, Jaq learned Judo at the behest of Alfred and their older sister. Jaq added, “Well at first I joined because they told me to join just to try it out. But then I eventually liked it. I guess it’s that they’re (the team) really accepting. We’re really supportive of each other and it shows during the matches. We push each other to strive to do better.”
In the end, both Querubin brothers have made the most out of their venture in Judo. For Alfred, the biggest lesson that he, Jaq, and the rest of the Ateneo Judo team have learned in the sport is respect. “The thing is in Judo, you have to be beneficial to each other kasi you train with your partner and each time you train, when you keep beating him up, he gets better and you have to teach him as well. You can’t just beat him up every single time. You have to teach him so that when he gets better than you, you’ll get better as well.”
Before they were called up by their teammates to do the traditional bow in Judo, the Querubin brothers hoped that more people will take up Judo in the future. Alfred concluded, “Learn Judo. It’s a good martial art. Good sport as well as martial art.”