Golden trio: Brotherhood key for PH poomsae team

MANILA, Philippines – Success follows taekwondo jins Dustin Jacob Mella, Rodolfo Reyes Jr, and Raphael Enrico Mella wherever they go. 

The 2019 Southeast Asian Games proved no exception. 

Performing before an ardent home crowd, the trio captured its third straight SEA Games gold medal together as the Filipino jins ruled the men's team recognized poomsae on Saturday, December 7. 

Sure, training for more than 6 years since they teamed up for the biennial meet has heavily contributed to their gold medal streak, but there is much more to their unique dynamic as a team. 

"[In] every team, every family, every group, the key is really humility, being open to each other, [and] working together, not against each other," Dustin Jacob said. 

Only Dustin Jacob and Raphael Enrico are bonded by blood, but Rodolfo has become one of theirs – a brother. 

"We all have our different strengths. Junior is a high kicker, I have power, Rico is balance. But we all complement each other," Dustin Jacob said. 

"And at the end of the day, we just have to talk about how we move together." 

But this edition of the SEA Games showed how other countries narrowed the gap in competition, with Vietnam scoring 8.416 and almost dethroning the Philippines, which amassed 8.483 points. 

As such, there is no room to rest on their laurels and be complacent. 

"It's hard to maintain our success because we always need to outdo ourselves. That's why every training, we really work hard," Rodolfo said. 

With none of the 3 older than 25, the trio is expected to defend its throne in the 2021 SEA Games in Vietnam. –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.