NEU’s Hagrid

By Matt Fernandez

Coach Peter Lawrence “Coach Pong” Meimban (Image Source: Eagle News)

IF THE HARRY POTTER series has Hagrid as Hogwarts’ gentle giant professor, are you aware that we also have a professor like he is here in New Era University? He does not keep beasts and monsters inside his locker, but unlike Hagrid, he can do martial arts— capable of immobilizing you with his brawny hands and powerful legs. In fact, he is a part of the Philippine Jiu-Jitsu team that secured a bronze medal in the 100kg category in the Southeast Asian Games.

Known as “Pong” or “Coach Pong” by his friends and students, Peter Lawrence Meimban served as the former NEU Powerlifting Club head coach and is a member of the Wrestling Association of the Philippines (WAP).

The NEU Wrestling Club Team Captain Khim Austin Eugenio explained why they consider Coach Pong as a “gentle giant.” According to him, Coach Pong is a very skilled and strong Jiu-Jitsu player but he always limits his strength according to his students’ potential. He does not give them a hard time; instead, he gives them enough time for them to decide what is the best next move to do during combat. Coach Pong’s supervision led the NEU Wrestling Club to take home three silver medals in the Novaliches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open.  

The 32-year old blue belter from Cainta, Rizal is a world traveler. Some of Coach Pong’s career tours include the 2017 Tokyo International Open held at Komazawa Olympic Park in Japan, where he bagged a gold medal. He represented Atos Jiu-Jitsu in the Dallas Fall International Open Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi 2017 Competition, held in Texas, USA, where he finished first place in both Master 1 Blue Male Ultra-Heavy and Master 1 Blue Bale Open Class categories. In the 2019 Jiu-Jitsu Thailand Open, he landed for a bronze medal.

At present, Coach Pong wants to focus on being a better Jiu-Jutsu player. Believing that he will do better in his next international bouts, he focuses his training at Atos Philippines and visits the NEU Wrestling Club to train his students. Like Hagrid who always serves as a guardian to the future flag-bearer of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Coach Pong serves as a guardian for the future flag-bearers of NEU and the Philippine Team in the world of martial arts.