MANILA, Philippines — The road to glory may not be easy, but the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) is upbeat of its chances in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
ABAP Secretary-General Ed Picson admitted that other countries have already beefed up their rosters in a bid to beat them in the boxing competition of the prestigious biennial meet set at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City starting December 3.
The boxing executive said he’s not making any medal prediction, but came up with an assurance that they will do everything to make the country proud.
“I don’t do medal projections as there are too many variables that we have to consider. But I can say that our boxers are in excellent shape,” said Picson, adding that officiating, conditioning and the draw could all be major factors in their golden bid.
“But it’s going to be tough. It’s no longer just Thailand that will come up with a good fight. We have information that other countries are also coming in strong as they are now using foreign exposure and coaches while upgrading their technology to boost their chances.”
Boxing has been a consistent medal winner for Team Philippines.
In the 28th edition of the Games in Singapore in 2015, the Filipino punchers emerged as the most victorious with flyweight Ian Clark Bautista, bantamweight Mario Fernandez, lightweight Junel Cantancio, welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial emerging victorious in the men’s side while light flyweight Josie Gabuco dominating the women’s category to underscore a successful campaign.
Unfortunately, only Marcial and light heavyweight John Tupas-Marvin delivered gold medals in the previous biennial meet in Kuala Lumpur in 2017.
This time, with the Philippine Sports Commission throwing its all-out support, the national boxers are tipped to come up with an impressive finish.
“Yes, the PSC’s support is always there,” said Picson, adding that the government sports agency has been bankrolling their program, including training camps and international tourneys.
Heading the national contingent will be Marcial together with Carlo Paalam, Rogen Ladon, Charly Suarez, James Palicte, Marjon Piañar, Bautista and Tupas-Marvin.
Meanwhile, newly crowned world champion Nesthy Petecio will lead the women’s squad together with Gabuco, Irish Magno, Aira Villegas and Risa Pasuit.
“We might make one or two chances depending on what happens in the next two weeks,” Picson said. (Lito Oredo/IAMIGO/CNS)