Friday, June 4, 2010


As a grade school student in my first boys school, San Beda, I got to befriend Poch who as a young boy, already exhibited his keen sense of comradeship. I got to meet Poch and other Spanish-Filipino boys in San Beda where they preferred to study. They were known as mestizo grade school students of San Beda College ran by Benedictine Spanish priests.

When I left San Beda and moved to Ateneo for grade five I no longer saw Poch and even began to cheer for another team the Ateneo Blue Eagles. It did not take long before the war came and I was happy to discover that Poch and his family were living near our home on Arlegui Street near Malacanang Palace.

His folks had decided to move into a two story house just around the corner from ours. The Japanese Occupation left Poch and I with much time to play for me to while away our time. By this time Poch was already known to basketball teams especially San Beda where he began to play in the senior varsity team and in Soccer teams as well - for it had come to be known that mestizo boys played excellent Soccer since before the war. Poch was a mestizo.

In fact, his name Jose Estella the III was significant because his grandfather Jose the Ist whom I met briefly at their house was actually a humble but well known composer of Filipino music known as Kundimans. One famous composition of the grandfather was ANG MAYA now a part of outstanding compositions by many Filipino composers.

When I resumed studies after the war at the Ateneo campus on Padre Faura, it was in my second year high school. There Poch and I were classmates once morel and so we were together again. He was an excellent athlete in both fora = basketball and Soccer, and one who never took himself seriously. Most schoolmates who got to know him as a fellow student and star athlete of the school team, enjoyed Poch's practical jokes and good humor.

It was during his performance with the Ateneo basketball team when he was selected to play with the Philippine Football team in the 1954 Asian Games. During his time other known Ateneo athletes included Luis "Moro" Lorenzo, Chole Gaston, Jose Rusty Cacho and Freddie Campos. In the Soccer field he shared accolades with Louie Javellana, Ole Orbeta, Bong Tanco and Mingging Imperial.

In the crucial game between Ateneo and La Salle for the NCAA championships Ateneo beat La Salle 2-0 on January 17, 1952. Poch was quoted in saying "This was my crowning glory for all the hard work my teammates and I put in as a two sport athlete of the Ateneo de Manila".

After graduating from Ateneo Poch became popular in his role as sales manager of the Volkwagan Beatle - extremely popular in the country in the fifties and he set a record in sales.

Even while employed Poch did not abandon his athletic activities by playing as a professional with the YCO paints Soccer team and a mestizo organized team called Turba Salvaje.

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